For Augusta Christian's Bruce Lane, it was a perfect night. For Briarwood's John Osbourne, it might have been the start of a long season.
Cole Rabun rushed for 142 yards and three touchdowns, and Augusta Christian gave Lane, its first-year head coach, a 45-13 win over Briarwood in the season opener at Pride Valley on Friday night.
"The kids played real hard tonight," Lane said. "They've really picked up and responded to what we're trying to do here."
With the Lions holding a 26-point halftime lead, Lane rested his starters after one offensive series in the third quarter. Augusta Christian (1-0) played its backups and junior varsity squad the majority of the second half.
For Osbourne, Briarwood's first-year coach, the game ended in the second quarter when he lost starting quarterback/free safety Bob Wills to a knee injury and fullback/linebacker Will Holley to an ankle injury. The Buccaneers were reduced to 13 healthy players.
"The thing about playing just 15 guys is you can't scrimmage very well," Osbourne said. "A lot of them are now going to have to play more positions than they want to."
After the Lions raced to a 13-0 lead, Wills put Briarwood back in the game. His 69-yard scoring scamper late in the first quarter pulled the Bucs within six.
Then suddenly, the game turned in the second quarter.
In a matter of five minutes and 38 seconds, Augusta Christian lit up the scoreboard for 20 points. Rabun rumbled around right end untouched for a 22-yard score. Quarterback Adam McKinney scored on a 5-yard keeper. McKinney added an 8-yard scoring strike to Matt Lane.
The Lions led 33-7 with 4:33 left before halftime.
"It means a lot to show the rest of the state that we play good football over here in Pride Valley," said Rabun, who didn't return after scoring a third touchdown with 9:37 left in the third quarter. "Briarwood is a good football team. But they only have 15 people, and I think we wore them down."
The win helped Augusta Christian avenge a 7-6 loss at Briarwood last season. The Bucs entered Friday's contest with five wins in their past six meetings with the Lions.
AUGUSTA CHRISTIAN 45, BRIARWOOD 13
Reach Chris Gay at (706) 868-1222, Ext. 114.
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