Center's heads-up play helped Knights

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Shane Walker's recovery of a fumble in the end zone appeared for a while like it would be the lone touchdown in Evans' 17-0 win over Glenn Hills.

"A big break for us," Knights coach Marty Jackson said.

It was the second time in as many seasons an Evans center has scored a touchdown. In a playoff win over Lee County last season, Michael Heredia recovered a fumble in the end zone early in the third quarter in the Knights' 35-16 win.

On Friday, Walker had the game's lone TD until Jonathan Finch 's 5-yard run with 2:29 left.

RED-ZONE STRUGGLES: Asked if his team played well enough on offense to win, Glenn Hills coach Ernest Tolbert pointed at the scoreboard.

"If you don't score, your offense is not doing what it needs to do," he said.

An excellent kick-return game gave the Spartans great field position four times against Evans. The Spartans were able to advance the ball into the final quarter of the field, but that's where they ran into trouble.

Glenn Hills ran 13 plays inside Evans' 25-yard line for a total of 18 yards. A holding penalty crippled the Spartans on their promising first drive, which advanced as far as the Evans 11-yard line.

"A miscue, a missed blocking assignment ... for some unforeseen reason, something happens (in the red zone)," Tolbert said. "We just have to work on it."

GOODWILL GESTURE: Barnwell coach Joey Still made an unusual move after Friday night's win at South Aiken.

He walked from where his team was celebrating and, after a brief chat with South Aiken coach Robert Wrightenberry , addressed the winless Thoroughbreds.

His message was simple: Keep fighting, and don't give up.

Earlier, after his team's 26-23 win, Still said he and Wrightenberry were friends and that he had been in that predicament before.

"They're a big football team, they're a strong team," he said. "Coach Wrightenberry does a great job."

Still and his Barnwell team faced adversity this year when junior lineman James Wooden died of complications from heatstroke. After some close losses, Barnwell rallied to beat South Aiken for its second win of the season.

Both teams will commence with region play this week.

FINDING IMBALANCE: After watching seven first-half drives end with zero points, Strom Thurmond coach Lee Sawyer decided to switch his team's offensive game plan at intermission in the Rebels' eventual 7-0 win over Silver Bluff.

In the first half, the Rebels ran the ball 16 times and threw it 16 times. The balanced offense produced 65 rushing yards, but quarterback Javon Brown was 3-for-16 passing for 30 yards and an interception.

Strom Thurmond kept it on the ground for 90 percent of its plays in the second half (27 rushes, three passes). In that span, the Rebels gained 188 yards.

"We just seemed to be kind of out of sync in our throwing game," Sawyer said. "We felt like maybe we went away from just trying to run right at them a little bit too early in the first half."

POINTS APPLY WITHIN: In its losses to Aiken and Strom Thurmond, Silver Bluff (3-2) has scored a total of seven points. The Bulldogs, excluding their 52-0 romp over Fox Creek, are averaging 11.7 points per game.

Against Strom Thurmond, Silver Bluff averaged 3.4 yards per carry and connected on just four of 18 passes. The Bulldogs play host to Ridgeland in their region opener Friday.

"We've got to find some offense," Silver Bluff coach Al Lown said. "We've got a pretty good football team. We just have to get some consistency on offense."

RAIN MEN: It was a rare type of rain that fell during Aiken's 22-19 region loss to Lexington. It wasn't the hard, driving downpour that threatens play and breaks umbrellas. It was more of an irritating drizzle just enough to soak seats in the bleachers and turn footballs slippery.

The kind of rain that caused Lexington to fumble three times, though it kept possession on each occasion.

The kind of rain that explained Aiken quarterback Kessler Scott 's completing only two of 15 passes on mostly accurate throws that slid through his receivers' hands.

The kind of rain that dampened the ball enough to make it slip through the Aiken punter's fingers on a high snap late in the third quarter that gave Lexington possession on the Aiken 11-yard line.

But it was also the kind of rain that neither coach wanted to admit was a factor.

"If it did change anything, it did it for both teams," Aiken coach Carey Johnson said. "No excuses like that."

LANEY QB HURT: Quarterback Kwame Cunningham was injured late in the first half of Laney's 35-0 victory at winless Dodge County on Friday.

He was hit on the arm near the goal-line, coach Lemuel Lackey said Saturday. His status for next week's game against Toombs County is unknown.

Freshman backup quarterback Leonardo Meyers threw for more than 100 yards and two touchdowns in the second half on Friday, Lackey said.

Chris Gay, John Boyette and Billy Byler contributed to this story.

Reach Matt Middleton at (706) 823-3425 or matt.middleton@augustachronicle.com.

FRIDAY'S LEADERS

RUSHING: William Banks, Augusta Christian 27 carries, 207 yards, 3 TDs


PASSING: Troy Griffith, Evans, 5-for-13, 137 yards


RECEIVING: Josh Butler, Evans, 2 receptions, 101 yards


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