What the Falcons didn’t have an answer for? DeVonte Pressley.
Behind a dominant offensive line, the North Augusta running back shredded the Nation Ford defense for 262 yards and the Yellow Jackets pulled free for a 43-29 win in the first round of the Class AAAA playoffs on Friday night.
Pressley rushed 43 times and added a pair of touchdowns.
“I felt real good running the ball,” he said. “I’ve got an excellent offensive line.”
Quarterback Trib Reece added: “DeVonte did an excellent job. He carried the team on his back.”
North Augusta (9-3) bounced back from last week’s loss at Dutch Fork in a game for the Region 5-AAAA title. In that contest, the Yellow Jackets were held to their fewest points (21) since a loss to Valdosta on Sept. 1.
Against Nation Ford, North Augusta rolled up 451 yards. Reece threw for 139 yards, while Trey Morgan caught six passes for 71 yards and added another 22 yards rushing.
“I thought the offensive line responded well after we didn’t respond that well last week,” Yellow Jackets coach Dan Pippin said. “I thought there were some things we could do that they gave us. I was happy we took advantage of that.”
North Augusta opened the game with a 76-yard scoring drive. The Yellow Jackets posted touchdowns on four of their first five drives to take a commanding 27-7 lead.
Nation Ford, led by quarterback Dalton Helms (20 for 35 passing, 333 yards) tried to match North Augusta yard for yard. But the Falcons (7-5) turned the ball over three times.
Defensive lineman Cameron Hampton intercepted Helms at the 11-yard line late in the first half to preserve a 20-point lead entering intermission.
Down 20 early in the fourth quarter, Nation Ford drove inside the North Augusta 5. But Andre Barr fumbled, and the Yellow Jackets recovered at the 1.