NORTH AUGUSTA — A sluggish start by North Augusta High School standards saw the home-standing Yellow Jackets end the first quarter tied with Grovetown, 7-7. North Augusta got back on track in the second and never looked back, blowing out the visiting Warriors, 56-13, on Friday night.
A dominant running game led the way for the Jackets (4-0). Willie McCloud led all rushers with 133 yards on 16 carries, including four touchdowns.
North Augusta wasted little time getting on the scoreboard. The Jackets needed just five plays to move 55 yards for the game’s opening touchdown. Three McCloud carries covered 44 yards, including the last six for the score.
Grovetown (1-2) had an answer. The Warriors embarked on a nine-play, 79-yard drive to even the score in the final minute of the first quarter. Linward Jackson’s 38-yard run on third down put the Warriors on the goal line. Justin Dears punched it in from there to knot the score, putting North Augusta in unfamiliar territory.
“I thought we responded well to them. We haven’t faced really any adversity all year,” Yellow Jackets head coach Dan Pippin said of the early tie. “I was happy with how we responded. I thought we did a good job with that.”
North Augusta responded, and then some, scoring the game’s next 49 points. It took just under two minutes into the second quarter for the Jackets to regain the lead with McCloud’s second touchdown of the half. From there, it was all North Augusta. The defense clamped down, allowing the Warriors only five yards of offense in the second quarter.
“I thought they did a good job after the second series,” said Pippin of his defense. “We didn’t finish the game real well, so that’s something we’ve got to get better at.”
North Augusta quarterback Trib Reece was efficient, as usual, completing 15 of 20 passes for 226 yards and a score. Thanks to the huge lead, almost all of his work was completed before halftime.
“No matter what defense they play, we always adjust to it,” McCloud said, adding that the Jackets’ powerful, experienced offensive line provided a great push. “Without them, I wouldn’t be anything. It all starts up front with the offensive line.”
North Augusta plays at Sumter next Friday.
G 7 0 0 6 – 13
NA 7 21 28 0 – 56
NA - Willie McCloud 6 run (Blake Busby kick) 7:21
G - Justin Dears 1 run (Martell Beall kick) 0:37
NA - McCloud 13 run (Busby kick) 10:04
NA - Dashawn Barnes 1 run (Busby kick) 5:59
NA - McCloud 3 run (Busby kick) 0:44
NA - Trib Reece 63 pass to Antaun Andrews (Busby kick) 10:02
NA - DJ Young 65 interception return (Busby kick) 8:05
NA - McCloud 4 run (Busby kick) 4:59
NA - Barnes 8 run (Busby kick) 1:44
G - Desmond Sampson 1 run (conversion failed) 7:44
G - Linward Jackson 9-64, Shiyear Woodburry 17-56, Jarred Cox 6-25 Malcolm Neal 2-14, Ben Jean 2-13, William Brisbane 1-7, Justin Dears 6-4-1 Desmond Sampson 8-2-1. Totals 51-185-2.