Jefferson County junior phenom A.J. Harmon predicted a win. So did teammate Tim Nelson.
They backed it up in the 20-13 Region 3-AA victory against previously unbeaten Swainsboro.
Respect was the word on Harmon's mind afterward even though the 317-pound junior was chop-blocked the entire game.
"You don't have a friend on the field in a game like this," Harmon said. "I have much respect for Swainsboro. They hit me hard. I hit them hard. It felt like a state championship battle. I love my team. If Jefferson County was a 3-player team and we had to fight against 1,500 Swainsboro Tigers I would still go to war with them because that's my team. I love my team. Good job from both sides.
"Did you see the way they came at us at the end? Swainsboro don't fold like most teams. I can't do nothing but respect the heart they showed tonight against us."
HARD FOUGHT: Watching the ball roll around the field was a weird sight. Jefferson County recovered three of its four fumbles, but the Tigers lost four of their eight.
Swainsboro threw the ball well during the loss. The Tigers ditched their power football stripes for spread and trips sets.
"We did that last week against Westside," Swainsboro coach Shane Williamson said. "We've always had it. We believe in trying to run the ball, but when you have to throw it we can throw it."
DENIAL: Cross Creek's 54-0 throttling of Butler has one stat worth repeating.
The Razorbacks allowed their rival only two first downs and 20 yards of total offense.
SWITCH: When the season began, South Aiken ran its offense with junior Calvin Fuller at quarterback and backup Bucky Washington as a reserve wide receiver and running back. Coach Robert Wrightenberry made a change a month ago. He elevated Washington to quarterback and moved Fuller to running back.
"We just felt like with Bucky and Calvin back there together it gave us more of a potent offense," Wrightenberry said.
South Aiken is 3-1 since the move, including its 31-24 victory at North Augusta. Fuller and Washington sparked the run game with a combined 235 rushing yards with two touchdowns.
SHOWDOWN: South Aiken (4-5, 2-1) plays host to White Knoll (3-6, 1-2) on Friday. With a win, the Thoroughbreds likely would face Aiken (8-1, 2-1) in two weeks for second place in Region 4-AAAA.
South Aiken has lost 13 in a row to the Hornets, including two losses last season. The Thoroughbreds last defeated Aiken in 1993.
FILM BUFFS: Chalk up Augusta Christian as another team to see the football movie Facing the Giants as a team. The Lions, who were out of school for fall break, caught the spiritual film on Friday afternoon.
"It goes along with what we've tried to do - especially over the last few years," Augusta Christian coach Bruce Lane said. "Everything we do, we want to glorify God."
Senior Taylor Hensley found inspiration from the movie's spiritual theme. The senior safety forced a fourth-quarter fumble and grabbed an interception to seal a 14-7 result against Heathwood Hall.
"Before the game we went and saw Facing the Giants, and it talked about playing every play for God," Hensley said after the game. "That's what we went by the whole game. Good or bad plays. We weren't being selfish tonight, and we didn't care who got the ball. We played as a team."
PRIDE EARNED: Glenn Hills stayed competitive with Thomson for four quarters and held its vaunted running game at bay.
The Spartans fell 10-0 but limited Thomson to 3.3 yards per carry. It was a leap for the team in Ernest Tolbert's first year as coach.
The result was the closest game in the series since 1992. Thomson had beaten the Spartans 60-0, 54-7, 34-8 and 63-0 the past four years.
Staff writers Billy Byler and Chris Gay contributed to this report.
Reach Jeff Sentell at (706) 823-3425 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The top individual performances among reported totals from around the area.
Player School Att. Yards Avg. TD
Freddie Jones Greenbrier 34 179 5.3 0
Player School Com. Att. Yards TD Int.
Rashad James Swainsboro 14 24 213 2 1
Player School No. Yards Avg. TD
Marcus Thurmond N. Augusta 2 110 55.0 1
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