Thursday, September 5, 2013
By Scott Rodgers
Going into Friday night’s matchup against McCormick, Fox Creek head coach Russ Schneider was quietly confident in his team’s ability to pull off a road upset over the defending Class A Upper State champion.
Jaquan Williams had a big game to lead the Predators (1-1) to their 32-20 win over the Chiefs. He rushed for a team-high 58 yards and scored two touchdowns late in the game – one on a 52-yard punt return and another on a 19-yard interception return.
“The whole time, I kind of felt like we had a special group, and we’ve kept it quiet,” Schneider said. “We were hoping to keep it quiet and surprise some people early. Our kids put all that work in at the weight room. Everyone says that, but we’ve really tied our entire program around it. The leadership that has developed out of that bond they made in the offseason is really the first time our kids have that fight about them that they aren’t going to quit.”
The Predators featured a wealth of running backs. Along with Williams’ 58, Darshon Broadwater had 57 yards, Dalton Swires had 53 and Ike El had 52. In all the team had 47 rushes for 237 yards and three touchdowns, with Swires and quarterback Deondre Baskett accounting for the other two.
“Most people have one back who goes for 200 and it’s a great game,” Schneider said. “We spread it around, and I was so much happier with that. It’s harder to defend when you have four guys who are getting a good bit of yards. The first thing most teams do when they play is try to stop Ike, and he’s just a beast. When they keyed in on the dive we started pitching it outside to our speed guys.”
The Fox Creek defense also played well according to Schneider.
“Our defense played very well,” Schneider said. “Defensively they have carried us early on. Deondre had two interceptions and Jaquan had the one returned for a touchdown. Our defense has really stepped up for us. For the first time ever, they will hit you. I couldn’t say that before – we had to lean into some people – but now we will hit you.”
The Predators will conclude their three game set on the road to open the year at Branchville. The Predators will enjoy a bye before a home date against Augusta Christian on Aug. 20. Schneider was quick to note, however, that this is not the same Branchville that Fox Creek beat 38-15 last year.
“It’s not going to be an easy game for us again,” Schneider said. “I think if we can keep progressing and getting better. This group seems to watch film and fix problems and adapts week to week.”
Scott Rodgers is the news editor at the North Augusta Star and has been with the paper since January 2013 after previously working at the Aiken Standard. He is a graduate of Alvernia University and currently attends Drexel University.