Originally created 08/22/06

Aiken defense shines in debut



WHO'S HOT: Aiken's defense: The Hornets had two goal-line stands at Beaufort. Aiken (1-0) didn't surrender a single point on the efforts in a 14-7 win Friday.

WHO'S NOT: South Aiken QB Calvin Fuller. The junior saw a cat-quick defense Friday at Rock Hill and found little room to roam, carrying the ball 17 times for 30 yards. He ran for 1,194 yards on 201 carries (5.9 yards a carry) and 15 scores last season.

BEST WIN LAST WEEK: Aiken 14, Beaufort 7: Aiken was the only winner in a limited slate of play.

TOP GAMES THIS WEEK:

1. North Augusta (0-0) at Strom Thurmond (0-0): You name it, this has it. Debut coach. Defending state champ. Bitter rivalry. This might be the biggest nonregion game in the area this year.

2. Greene County (0-0) at Lincoln County (0-0): Georgia teams don't play games until Sept. 1, but that matters little. It's still a chance to watch Josh Nesbitt and his Tigers scrimmage the defending Class A champs.

Nesbitt threw for 2,844 yards and 35 touchdowns last year. He also ran for 1,723 yards and 22 scores in 14 games in 2005.

Rivals.com ranks him as the No. 14 player in Georgia.

3. Fort Mill (1-0) at South Aiken: Can the T-Breds get back on track and earn their first win for new coach Robert Wrightenberry?

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Aiken senior quarterback Phillip Lee has already figured out what it takes. "I don't want to be the player the CSRA turns on Channel 6 Friday nights after the game to see rushing for 200 yards or throwing for 300 yards," he said. "But I do want to see Aiken High at the top. I want the guys to look up to me in the huddle on 3rd-and-15. I want my team to look at me and say, 'He can do it. He can get the job done.' That's all I worry about."

WORTH NOTING: Jefferson County junior A.J. Harmon has attracted national interest. The Sporting News rated him the No. 4 player in the nation in the Class of 2008. Sports Illustrated's Web site ranks him No. 8 nationally.

"That's big," Jefferson County coach J.B. Arnold said. "He's good. But we're not talking about No. 4 in the county, the region or the state. That's the nation. ... He doesn't need to find out about this, though. He needs to keep working hard and not let up a single bit."

The 6-foot-4, 317-pound lineman has already received verbal scholarship offers from Auburn and Clemson.

OVERHEARD: North Augusta coach Dan Pippin is easily one of the most demanding and committed coaches in the area.

But there might be a problem. It involves the success of his boyhood favorite team.

"I don't know what will happen if the (Detroit) Tigers make the World Series," he said earlier this summer. "We'll have to cancel practice. I can't miss my Tigers playing in the World Series. I'm sorry. I just can't."

It was hard to tell whether he was joking.

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

BREAKOUT PLAYERS


Five relative unknowns who will burst on the scene this fall.

Player School Position Class
Calvin Britt Laney WR/DE Sr.
Will be Laney's go-to receiver. Also a superior defensive end
Mike Cardwell Aquinas QB Sr.
Strong right arm from Virginia has attracted a lot of attention
Trevor Hazel Silver Bluff RB Jr.
Two-year starter on defense is new starter at wingback
Freddie Jones Greenbrier RB/DB Sr.
He might be the fastest player in Columbia County
Dennis Thomas Jefferson County QB Sr.
Four-year starter at QB will go from solid to very good this fall