Originally created 09/09/06

Patriots rush past Musketeers defense



Westside senior quarterback Melvin Tanksley is reserving his judgment.

Keyed by a strong defense and a stout running game, Westside rolled to a 48-7 win over Richmond Academy at the Battlefield.

Two games, two blowouts. So far, the Patriots and their fans have every right to be giddy. But is Westside this good?

"We've got to play some more times first," Tanksley said. "We've got to get into the region then we'll know."

Against nonregion foes, Westside's doing just fine. The Patriots began the season with a 47-14 win over Greenbrier using the same recipe for success it used Friday night.

Thanks largely to Charles Hankerson and Ben Millar, Westside rolled up 311 rushing yards on 35 carries. Hankerson, in his first season playing varsity, ran 12 times for 120 yards and four touchdowns, all in the first half. Millar rushed 12 times for 79 yards and two scores.

Even reserve Kevin D'Aversa got in on the action, sending the Patriots' bench into a frenzy. The junior running back busted the line of scrimmage and out-raced defenders for an 89-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter.

"I think Richmond Academy was firing everybody," Westside coach Gerald Barnes said. "If you break that fire, you're off and running."

Westside was off and running to start the game. The Patriots scored on five of their first six drives to build a 34-0 halftime lead.

"We're having fun out here," Hankerson said.

The same cannot be said for Richmond Academy, which allowed 48 points for the second week in a row. The Musketeers' offense, plagued by inconsistency, gained 154 total yards. Marquel Jordan led Richmond Academy rushers with 81 yards on 10 carries.

"I take full responsibility in not having the team ready in this rivalry game," Musketeers coach Chris Lamb said. "I'm not poor-mouthing, but they're one of the better teams I've seen."

Westside could've opened its offense up more if it wanted. In the first half alone, Tanksley was 5-for-8 passing for 108 yards, and Alex Walker had four receptions for 99 yards.

But Barnes wanted to build depth instead of run up the score. He emptied the bench in the second half.

When most everybody on your team gets to play, it means you're playing well. But don't expect Barnes to get too caught up in his team's fast start.

"It's hard to get excited, because we have some tough ones coming up," he said. "The games right now, we're trying to find out what we can do."

Reach Chris Gay at (706) 823-3645 or chris.gay@augustachronicle.com.

WESTSIDE 48, RICHMOND ACADEMY 7


PLAY OF THE GAME: Four plays after Richmond Academy quarterback Jacob Sullivan lost a fumble at midfield, running back Charles Hankerson scored on a 29-yard run to give Westside a 20-0 lead in the second quarter.


WHY WESTSIDE WON: The Patriots rushed for 300 yards for the second consecutive game, even with a running clock in the second half. Westside won the battle at the line of scrimmage, with the offensive line paving paths for quarterback Melvin Tanksley, fullback Ben Millar and Hankerson.


WHY RICHMOND ACADEMY LOST: The Musketeers never could get into an offensive rhythm, despite some long runs from Marquel Jordan.


STAR OF THE GAME: Hankerson rushed 12 times for 120 yards and four touchdowns, all in the first half.


WHAT'S NEXT: Richmond Academy plays host to Wayne County, 7:30 p.m., next week; Westside at Cross Creek, 7:30, next week.