Originally created 09/23/04

Josey's perseverance pays off big

Josey turned heads with its 13-10 victory at Morgan County. The Eagles had one win heading to Madison last Friday. They'd given up 25 points per game.

Morgan, 4-0 coming in, had produced an average of 36 points per contest. That wasn't against pushovers. Morgan whipped AAAA teams Jones County and Greenbrier by 29-0 and 26-15, respectively. The team also scored 41 points in a win over Commerce.

The Bulldogs jumped out to a 10-0 lead against Josey. None of that mattered in the CSRA's most impressive road victory so far.

"We never stopped fighting," Josey coach Barney Chavous said. "We'd get down earlier this year and the heads would drop and the negativity would start. This time it didn't matter what the other sideline was doing. We never lost focus and kept concentrating."

The Eagles' Lawrence Marsh blocked a key field goal. Fleet-footed wideout Rashad Roberts hauled in a 40-yard scoring pass off a trick play on 3rd-and-18. Sophomore Danny Daggett topped 100 all-purpose yards.

The Eagles travel to Greene County (4-1) on Friday.

"All I want is our guys to give us the same effort," Chavous said. "We get that intensity and I know we will be in the ballgame."

MENDING BYRD: North Augusta All-American candidate C.J. Byrd's day got off on the wrong foot against Lower Richland on Monday.

Byrd was ineffective in his return from a high-ankle sprain. He had scant defensive duty as planned, and caught two passes for nine yards.

His most effective play after sitting out most of the second half of a 21-7 win was a recovery of an onside kick in the final minute.

"Coming in I felt good, but I got tackled on the first drive and kind of twisted it again a little bit," Byrd said. "I felt good coming out. I went to therapy, and I passed to play. Then I go out and twist it again on my very first play."

HARD TO BELIEVE: Screven County and Swainsboro are a combined 1-9 this year. The Tigers are 31-18 since 1998. Screven went 42-8 in that span. Both have won a state title since 2000.

What a difference the year 2004 makes.

Swainsboro has lost four in a row against a foursome of Washington County, Statesboro, Vidalia and Dublin. Each of those four are ranked in the top 10 of the latest state rankings, earning Swainsboro an easy nod as the best 1-4 team in the state.

Screven coach Mark Daniel believed the year to be the biggest rebuilding campaign in Sylvania since 1995. He was right.

The Gamecocks are scoring only eight points per game and are giving up 29 per Friday. A lack of returning defensive starters in the senior class has hurt.

FLYING LOW: Strom Thurmond junior Justin Broadwater has produced like his last name was Byrd so far. The 6-foot junior with 4.5 speed in the 40-yard dash has an area-best 24 catches for 375 yards and two scores.

Junior quaterback Coco Hillary wouldn't be so highly regarded if not for Broadwater working his way open on slant routes and on screens.

"Broadwater has been a big surprise," Strom Thurmond coach Lee Sawyer said. "He played for our ninth-grade team his freshman year but didn't come out for football last season. This year he's out and making not just catches, but big catches and third-and-long catches."

SPEED READING: North Augusta junior Marcus Jackson needs a nickname. How about "Remarkable" Marcus? The all-around strongest player on the team's speed game has earned four sacks and 37 tackles on the year. Florida State has invited him to visit any game this season. ... Greenbrier's Eugene Rogers looked superb in his return from injury against Evans. He ran for 112 yards and a score and added five catches for 42 yards. One observer said he appeared much faster than his form of last season. ... Blackville-Hilda hasn't lost a regular-season game since Sept. 27, 2002. That's 20 games. This week's opponent is Swansea, the team that handed the Fighting Hawks that 2002 defeat by an 11-7 count. They've won 30 of their past 31 games outside the postseason. ... Jefferson County running back Jeffrey Walker is on a pace to carry the ball 280 times for 1,834 yards and 22 touchdowns in the regular season.

Reach Jeff Sentell at (706) 823-3425 or jeff.sentell@augustachronicle.com.


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