Thursday, October 6, 2011

Metro Spirit 10-6

Last Thursday’s matchup between ARC and Thomson pitted two programs that are in completely different galaxies against each other. But I guess you could have read the box score and drawn that conclusion yourself. 61-7 was the final score from the legendary Brickyard in Thomson with the hometown Bulldogs overwhelming the Musketeers in a lopsided game that could have been much worse. I don’t say that to beat up on ARC, they finally reached a year where they are in a complete overhaul of their program. They’ve had a nice run the past few years with stellar play coming from each year’s upperclassmen. But In returning only seven total players with varsity experience, ARC Coach Chris Hughes knew it would be a constant uphill climb all year.

The question was just how steep.

It was weird to watch as ARC dominated the time of possession for the game—usually a decent indicator of the winning team—and the game could have not been more out of reach. Special teams miscues ran amok the entire evening and contributed heavily to the cause while Thomson’s intensity and effort never weaned. The defense also looked confused more often than not—which is what happens when only two of those returning players with varsity experience are on the defense, and your playing the Georgia’s #1 ranked scoring team at 53 pts/game-- and fell victim to Thomson’s expansive network of running backs. Head Coach Milan Turner scheduled a pregame ceremony to honor former head coach, the late Luther Welsh, so the Bulldogs had no shortage of inspiration performing in tribute to their fallen former leader.

Lakeside traveled over to Greenbrier in search of a win to snap the 4-game losing streak they brought into the game, and also to extend their winning streak over one of their fiercest rivals to four in a row. Lakeside completed both tasks as they beat the Wolfpack 34-17 to put them at 2-4 on the season, and 1-1 in region play. Remember that score, we’ll address some concerns to it in a bit.

Greenbrier did a good job of staying in the game before halftime, with Jahvon Hardrick logging an impressive 65-yard touchdown run that closed out the scoring for the first half and left the fans with an exciting 20-17 halftime score. The Wolfpack should have glanced outside the locker room during halftime for a preview of what was to come for them in the second half.

The lights went out.

No, like they literally went out during the halftime performance of Greenbrier’s band.

And as funny as it would have been if some ninth grader acting on the dare of a senior had cut the power, sadly, a transformer just blew. Nothing to see here. Literally.

Lakeside’s defense continued the lights out trend in the second half only relinquishing 18 yards of total offense and one first down to Greenbrier. The Wolfpack struggled to get the ball into their other playmaker’s hands. With Hardrick being the main target, Lakeside Coach Jarrett Troxler sought to shut the talented running back down.

Outside of this looking like just another Lakeside win over Greenbrier in a string of them, something bizarre occurred. Down 17 points with a little under seven minutes to go, ball on Lakeside’s side of the field, and all of their timeouts still in hand, Greenbrier punted it to the Panthers, who had been running the ball well on them all night long. It already raised concerns when they ran the ball on 3rd down and didn’t hustle back to the line to get the next play off, but punt it? I’m not the only one asking what happened that night—I was stopped by numerous “casual” fans who also noted the blunder. Lakeside ran the ball with ease, marched down the field and ran the clock out. I’m no game management expert, but isn’t the point to try and win? With the boys playing their hearts out against their rivals—Thomas Brown looked so gassed he could hardly muster the strength to get off the line of scrimmage near the end while handling wide receiver and safety duties all night. I know the kids left it all out on the field, living and dying with each play. They looked desperate for this win. Too bad we can’t say the same for the folks in the collared shirts.

Games to Watch

Lexington @ North Augusta-Friday- 7:30pm

Last weeks win over Northwestern was crucial for the Jackets. Can they have a repeat performance?

Greenbrier @ Evans-Thursday- 7pm-TV: Digital- 6.2, Comcast- 380, Atlantic Broadband/Knology 246

Both teams need this game to stay competitive in the Region 2B-AAAA race.

Butler @ Washington County- Friday- 7:30pm

Winner of this one sets up big matchup against Burke County in a few weeks.

College/NFL Games to Watch

No.3 Oklahoma vs No. 11 Texas-Saturday-12pm-ABC

Texas has been surging since replacing struggling QB Gilbert and going with the Case McCoy and David Ash rotation.

No. 17 Florida @ No. 1 LSU- Saturday- 3:30-CBS
Even if Florida had QB John Brantley, do you really give them a chance anyways?

Georgia @ Tennessee-Saturday-7pm-ESPN2

Last four years the home team has handled business in this series.

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