Originally created 09/17/06

Prep rewind



The television networks made up the term "Separation Saturday" for the big-time games in college football this weekend.

There's a phrase that fits what took place in our area Friday.

"Fantastic Friday" would fit. The football displayed at Buddy Bufford Field and Louis K. Hagood Stadium would have been the envy of any football purist.

Aiken's 20-19 upset of Camden County and Washington-Wilkes' 3-0 victory over Lincoln County will resonate in the minds of anyone who was at those games for a while.

WHAT IT MEANS: Aiken's victory won't count in the region standings. It was as far from the playoffs as a chest-bumping win can be.

But don't tell the Hornets that knocking off the top-ranked team from the largest classification in Georgia wasn't a big deal.

"Look at we did against the No. 21 team in the nation and the No. 1 team in Georgia," Aiken quarterback Phillip Lee said. "It says there should be no exceptions from here on into region play. This sets the standard for how we should play every night."

The Wildcats (2-1) had won 58 consecutive games in the regular season.

DIALING IT DOWN: Aiken's Carey Johnson would downplay a 50-0 win in a scrimmage against the New England Patriots if he could.

He did just that afterward. His Hornets had two gifts from Camden County. The Wildcats fumbled their first two snaps.

Aiken penetrated to the Camden 9 and 1 thanks to the tremendous field position. But they got no points on those tries.

The score could have been 30-6 at the half instead of 20-6.

"That's something we have got to get better at," Johnson said. "Finishing people off when you've got the chance to knock them out. We had chances. That's something we will focus on next week."

NOTED: One observer noted there were more Camden fans who made the five-hour trip from the South Georgia coast than filled the visitor's stands at the Silver Bluff game two weeks ago.

Camden County also had at least 19 assistant coaches on their sideline for the contest.

WHO'S BETTER? Aiken's Taikwon Paige caught everything thrown his way. He even fielded a very combustible question.

He was asked whether Aiken's win means the prep football is better in South Carolina than in Georgia.

Paige didn't shy away from it.

"I can't say that," Paige said. "Can't tell you. But tonight it is."

CAPTAIN MORGAN: Family and friends showered Washington-Wilkes coach Russell Morgan with post-game hugs Friday night after the Tigers' 3-0 defeat of Lincoln County.

Mark Tench's 35-yard field goal with five minutes left coupled with a gritty defensive performance left Morgan in awe.

"I'm still in shock," he said. "I need to run for office."

Morgan knew the importance of trumping his rival for the first time in five tries, especially after two losses last season.

"A lot of people get judged on how well you do in the Lincoln County game," he said.

NO GOATS: Tigers senior Demont Gresham might have been the happiest person to leave Buddy Bufford Stadium. Gresham almost cost his team the game.

With the Tigers up 3-0 with 3:31 remaining, Gresham coughed up the ball on first down after the Washington-Wilkes held Lincoln County on downs.

"I was kind of shaken," he said. "I was upset for a minute."

The Red Devils got the ball on the Tigers' 45 needing a couple of first downs to at least get into field-goal range. But backup quarterback Austin Goldman threw over the middle on third-and-6 from his 15 to starting quarterback Brandon Barden.

The ball deflected off his hands and into the hands of the Gresham.

TIMING: Lincoln County couldn't ask for a better date for an off week. The Red Devils get two weeks to re-tune before opening region play Sept. 29 at Aquinas.

Of the Red Devils' eight drives Friday, three ended on fumbles and another on an interception. Their opening drive stalled when Goldman got sacked by Dan Wylie on fourth down.

"We still have a good football team," Lincoln County coach Larry Campbell said. "This was a good test."

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

FRIDAY'S BEST

The top individual performances among reported totals from around the area.

RUSHING

Player School Att. Yards TD

Manny Riedel N. Augusta 28 135 1

PASSING

Player School Comp. Att. Yards TD Int.

Melvin Tanksley Westside 4 11 177 3 0

RECEIVING

Player School No. Yards TD

Sanders Commings Westside 3 148 2