Originally created 10/24/06

Warriors are the team to beat



WHO'S HOT: Jefferson County. The Warriors got their fourth win in a row when sophomore lineman Chris Crenshaw sacked Swainsboro's Rashad James and ended a thrilling comeback try at the Jefferson County 16 on the final play of a 20-13 game.

WHO'S NOT: Butler. It probably sounds like beating a dead horse, but the Bulldogs were shut out for the fifth time last week.

They score an average of six points and give up an average of 43 points per game. Butler (0-7) has lost by 33, 34, 35, 41, 54 and 55 points this year.

BEST WIN LAST WEEK: Jefferson County 20, Swainsboro 13: The words of Warriors coach J.B. Arnold describe it best.

"This win was so important for our community," Arnold said. "We want to bring this community together through football. This win meant so much for that."

It also makes the Warriors the team to beat in Region 3-AA.

TOP AREA GAMES THIS WEEK:

1. Strom Thurmond (6-3) at Midland Valley (6-3): A Strom Thurmond victory would give it a third consecutive region title.

2. Westside (5-2) at Laney (5-2): Consider this the Region 3-AA elimination round. The loser of this game abandons the right to chase the region crown against Jefferson County next month.

HISTORIC: Lincoln County's Brandon Barden will enroll at Virginia Tech in January. He is the first Red Devil to graduate early and enroll halfway through his senior year of high school. He's likely the first area player to take that route, too.

Early enrollment is a trend that has only become an option during the past 15 years.

Being the son of a high school principal appears to have had its academic advantages for Barden.

"I want to get up there and get going," he said. "I want to do whatever it takes to get on the field."

INJURY: Burke County linebacker Cornelius Washington expects to return to the field this week. He fractured his left arm in two places prior to the season.

The 6-foot-4 junior committed to Georgia in July. He lost about 20 pounds after the injury and weighs around 209 pounds now.

"It's been hard," he said. "Watching and knowing maybe I could've done something to help my team. I'll get a chance to see what I've got this Friday."

INJURY UPDATE #2: Strom Thurmond standout Jakar Hamilton broke his foot last week in the first half against Swansea. The receiver is out two-to-four weeks.

"He doesn't know when it happened," Strom Thurmond coach Lee Sawyer said. "It's the bone on the outside of his foot, and it was broken in two places. The doctors said two-to-four weeks. But I don't know. I'd expect that type of injury to take maybe four weeks to heal up."

Hamilton has 14 touchdowns.

CONGRATS: Three area players were named to the South Carolina roster for the 70th annual Shrine Bowl against North Carolina on Dec. 16 in Spartanburg, SC.

Aiken cornerback Taikwon Paige, Blackville-Hilda kicker Brandon Berry and Silver Bluff lineman Cory Pope were named to the team.

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