At North Augusta, in a wild one in the Jackets Nest, it was Lexington that prevailed in a Region 5-4A opener.
The Wildcats (6-1, 1-0) took North Augusta’s (5-2, 0-1) best shot in the first half. The Jackets blocked a punt for a safety, scored three touchdowns in two minutes and with 4:30 left in the half looked to go for an early knockout.
But Lexington withstood the early surge and outscored North Augusta 33-7 in the second half for the 54-33 victory.
“Our kids played well, they persevered,” Lexington coach Josh Stepp said. “We went through about a 10-minute stretch there in the second quarter where that’s about as bad of football as we’ve played all year. Again, it shows the character and grit this group’s got to come back and play well and finish the game here on the road in a tough environment. I’m very proud of my kids for battling back.”
The momentum fully swung to the Wildcats when North Augusta quarterback Landon Washington was knocked out of the game with a neck injury.
From that moment, it all unraveled for the Jackets, who gave up 33 points in the second half.
The Jackets’ depth at quarterback was entirely depleted. Backup Nick Clary exited with a knee injury. Rashad Byrd tried to will his team back after Washington’s departure. After coming in, he connected with DeJuan Bell for a 49-yard gain and punched it in from two yards out to trim the Lexington lead to 35-33. Due to fatigue, and with the score in the fourth quarter, Byrd was pulled from the game. Derius Gibson, the team’s No. 2 running back, stepped in at quarterback and was sacked for a safety.
Lexington quarterback Brandon Blake finished with 230 yards and two touchdowns, both going to Jayson Hopper. He also had two pick-6s, with one each to DeJuan Bell and Timmy Butler. The Wildcats were led on the ground by Slade Carroll, who put the game away in the second half. He finished with 147 yards and two scores, both coming in the third quarter.
Westwood 56, Lugoff-Elgin 14
At Lugoff, Rudy Mitchell rushed for 188 yards and five first-half touchdowns as the Redhawks won their Region 4-4A opener.
As a team, Westwood rushed for 315 yards on the ground and outgained Lugoff-Elgin 388-165.
Westwood QB Jalen Smith added 69 yards through the air.
L-E quarterback Bradwin Salmond threw for 63 yards and a TD.
Gray Collegiate 40, Great Falls 0
At Great Falls, Gray Collegiate earned its second consecutive win with a victory over Great Falls.
Bryce Fields led the charge, completing 10-of-15 passes for 240 yards and three touchdowns. Chylon Thomas caught five passes for 127 yards and a touchdown. Brandon Carroway added three catches for 100 yards and two scores.
GCA running back Erick Harris added 97 yards and two touchdowns.