Sawyer aware South Aiken still seeking first win

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South Aiken will travel to Strom Thurmond this week still looking for its first win.

The Thoroughbreds (0-3) had a shot at the win column twice when they led Aiken, 17-0, in the first half of the season opener and held a four-point lead over Silver Bluff in the fourth quarter last week.

It's a fact that hasn't escaped Strom Thurmond coach Lee Sawyer , who said he doesn't expect anything easy Friday. The Rebels lost to North Augusta's high-powered spread offense last week, and will see a completely different offense from South Aiken.

"They've been so close several times," Sawyer said of the Thoroughbreds. "What makes it hard for us is we're going from (North Augusta stars Matt) Hazel and (Loranzo) Hammonds throwing the ball all over the place to (South Aiken's) wishbone offense. That's a big change for our defense in one week."

Sawyer said his team will most likely be without senior tailback Nick Williamson again, who missed last week's game with a pulled hamstring.

Junior Chris Blocker filled in and rushed for 100 yards on 14 carries against North Augusta.

SEEKING REVENGE: Midland Valley head coach Rick Knight was once on staff at Silver Bluff. He'll return to his old stomping grounds Friday when his Mustangs take on the Bulldogs. Knight's time at Silver Bluff included several years of state championship-level football, and former Silver Bluff tailback Terry Madison paid his old coach a visit this week.

Madison spoke to the Midland Valley players at Monday's practice as the team prepared to make its first ever trip to Silver Bluff.

"He came out here just to talk to me, but we ended up getting him to speak to the players," Knight said. "He talked about playing together and being a team. We're going to need that."

Silver Bluff (3-0) beat Midland Valley last year, 9-7, with a touchdown on a fake field goal.

REUNION: Strom Thurmond's class of 1979 will be honored at halftime Friday night of the Rebels' game against South Aiken.

The squad won a Class AAA upper state championship, led by head coach Keith McAlister and quarterback Ira Hillary , and started a stretch of 25 wins in 27 games in a two-year period.

REGION READY: Region play begins this week for Region 4-A with Fox Creek's Thursday night road game at C.A. Johnson.

Wagener-Salley will play at Blackville-Hilda, Ridge Spring-Monetta will go to Hunter-Kinard-Tyler and Williston-Elko will play host to North.

Reach Billy Byler at (706) 823-3216 or billy.byler@augustachronicle.com.


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