If North Augusta is to achieve all it hopes this season, Reggie Merriweather will probably need some help from his friends - namely, his friends calling the plays in the huddle.
The Yellow Jackets' star tailback got some much-needed aid from two of his quarterbacks Friday, as sophomore Andre Young and junior Frayne Abernathy helped North Augusta (2-0) pull out a 27-7 win at Midland Valley.
The two signal-callers combined for 178 total yards and delivered some clutch plays to complement another routine performance from Merriweather - 21 carries for 132 yards and a touchdown.
"We've got two quarterbacks, and both of them do an excellent job," said Jackets' coach Joe Long, whose signal-callers recovered nicely from last week's combined 1-for-6 passing clip with 121 yards through the air against the Mustangs.
Abernathy, who was 6-of-8 passing for 98 yards, said he likes the two-quarterback system.
"It's a lot easier switching in and out," he said. "You don't have a lot more opportunities to mess up, and we both bring different aspects to the game, so it's pretty good."
Young's biggest play came when the Jackets, up 14-7 late in the third quarter, faced third-and-6 from the Mustangs' 11. Midland Valley ganged up to stop the run, but Young faked a handoff and tossed to a wide-open Brian Danforth on the left flat to put North Augusta up 20-7.
Both of Abernathy's highlights came in the fourth. On third-and-10 from his own 30, the 6-foot-3, 195-pound Abernathy lofted a perfect pass to Elbert Walker for a 54-yard gain.
Two plays later, Abernathy took a keeper to the right for 15 yards to make it 27-7.
"They were geared up to stop Reggie," Long said.
The Jackets' offense has been helped by the addition of coordinator Jim Connor, the former Evans head coach who can take a break from his conservative play-calling every now and then.
"He's got a reputation for not throwing the football, but he throws it at the right time," Long said. "A team that can run the football well is going to create good passing opportunities."
Merriweather rushed for 86 yards in the first half, 35 on a busted-play touchdown run that saw him make several nice cuts to put the Jackets up 7-0.
For the Mustangs (0-2), the game boiled down to two crucial mistakes: A pass interference call negated a third-and-14 incompletion and led to a Jackets touchdown midway through the second quarter, and a fumbled punt return by Jeremy Randall allowed for Young's scoring toss to Danforth.
"They had some costly turnovers that ended up hurting them and took them out of the game," Long said.
Reach Larry Williams at (706) 823-3645 or firstname.lastname@example.org