Monday, October 9, 2017

#4 North Augusta's showdown with #5 South Aiken will likely decide the region's champion

North Augusta vs South Aiken is Friday's AugBball Game of the Night

The sprint through region play will last four more Fridays. Over that time period, about a half-dozen games pitting region rivals will likely decide which teams will grab their region's #1 seed, and with it the chance to earn at least two home games in the state playoffs come November. And high school football's closest watchers are excited about it!

I'll have more on the other games mentioned above later. For now I'll focus on Friday's showdown at North Augusta between the Yellow Jackets (7-0, 1-0) and defending region champion South Aiken (6-1, 1-0), the results of which should eventually determine the top seed in South Carolina's class AAAA, region 4. North Augusta, ranked #4 in the state, has scorched through its schedule so far, outscoring opponents by an average margin of 27 points per game. And South Aiken, ranked #5, has picked up a ton of steam since dropping its second game of the season at White Knoll. The Thoroughbreds have won 5 straight games by an average margin of 38 points.

South Aiken's first region game (September 29)

In their first week of region play, both teams made it obvious that their only challenge in October will be against each other. First South Aiken routed rival Aiken 51-10 at home in a game televised on WJBF. In that game, running back Chris Roberts ran for 133 yards on 15 carries and caught 2 touchdown passes. And receiver Deshun Kitchings added a couple scores, one through the air and another on the game's opening kick-off, a 95 yard sprint that you will see at the beginning of this highlight reel he shared on Twitter:

North Augusta's first league game (October 6)

Not to be outdone, a week later North Augusta ran Airport off the field 47-7, avenging a loss suffered in the final regular season game last season. Speedster Dejuan Bell scored 3 touchdowns in that game, first on a 60 yard punt return, next on a 2 yard rush, and lastly on a 61 yard reception.

Dejuan Bell has 9 touchdown receptions this season.

Friday's game will be my first time watching the Thoroughbreds in person after featuring North Augusta's 34-21 home win over another rival, Strom Thurmond, three Fridays ago:

Judging from the statistics, the teams' standouts at the skill positions look like mirror images of each other:

But when these rivals meet in the most important game of their region schedule, or their "second season," as North Augusta coach Brian Thomas calls it, the statistics that were piled up in August and September can be thrown out the window!

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