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Harlem off to best start in more than 30 years

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Harlem hasn’t started this well in more than 30 years.

The Bulldogs beat Olgethorpe County 21-7 on Friday night to improve to 2-0 for the first time since 1981. That season, Harlem started 6-0 and beat Lincoln County twice as it finished 9-3.

This 2-0 start matches the program’s win total from the previous two seasons.

NO UPSET: It was hard to see a silver lining in a 65-7 loss to Northwestern, but South Aiken coach Jeremy West gave it his best shot.

With the Thoroughbreds missing star defensive end Rasool Clemons, and other key players, the team hung tough with the No. 1-ranked team in South Carolina for nearly a quarter.

“We had some guys step up tonight,” West said after the lopsided loss. “Rod Wise, he played his heart out for a half. He made it as long as he could and we pulled him at halftime.”

Clemons, who has multiple Division I offers, did not dress out. But West expects him and the others to be back for Friday’s game at Silver Bluff.

“Everyone will be available next week,” he said.

THUNDER AND LIGHTNING: Burke County coach Eric Parker sees the big picture.

While his team eclipsed the 400-yard total against Hephzibah, it’s not enough when the second-ranked Bears likely make another trip to the playoffs.

Against the Rebels, Burke County used its lightning-quick speed to chew up chunks of yardage. But Parker, whose team plays host to Class AAAAA Coffee on Friday, wants more muscle in his team’s offensive attack.

“Right now, we are pretty good at the finesse stuff we do,” Parker said. “We probably have to rely on it a little bit more than we’d like. In the past we’ve been really good, even in this spread offense, at being able to pound on you. And that’s the part that’s missing a little bit now that we need to get. I feel like if we do that we complete the package offensively. We’re probably on track of where we need to be.”

GETTING EVEN BETTER: North Augusta’s Willie McCloud gives the Yellow Jackets tremendous bursts of speed and energy as a complement to their dangerous passing game, and the senior running back is quickly becoming more than just a complementary rusher.

McCloud rushed for 138 yards and one touchdown in a 45-0 win over Greenbrier on Friday night. He has bested his yardages each week, starting with 82 against T.L. Hanna and 121 against Midland Valley. The speedy back, along with Deshawn Barnes’ 116 rushing yards, led the North Augusta offense in its rout of Greenbrier.

Coach Dan Pippin said McCloud is good when he’s running hard, and he has done just that through his first three games.

Staff writers John Boyette, Chris Gay and David Lee contributed to this story.

WEEKLY LEADERS

RUSHING: Augusta Prep’s Nolan Brandon had 220 yards in a 33-14 win over Curtis Baptist.

PASSING: Lakeside’s Hunter Banks threw for 264 yards in the Panthers’ 23-14 win over Thomson.

RECEIVING: Jonathan Edwards, of Lakeside, had 91 yards in 23-14 win over Thomson.


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