Mustangs riding high after upset
By Billy Byler | Staff Writer
Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Midland Valley's come-from-behind victory over Silver Bluff last week gave Mustangs coach Rick Knight his "biggest nonregion win" in his coaching career. It also might have done something for his players.

"I was hoping for a big win like this to give the kids some confidence before we go to Airport," Knight said. "Hopefully this will do it."

The Mustangs still have one more nonregion game, Friday vs. Batesburg-Leesville, before they begin region play at undefeated Airport.

The Eagles are the only team in Region 5-AAA without a loss thanks to an offense averaging 42 points per game.

But Midland Valley can't lose sight of a Batesburg-Leesville team with a 3-1 record. The Mustangs have never beaten the Panthers, including a 14-0 shutout loss last season.

RISING STAR: Matt Hazel can add a few more names to the growing list of believers who think the North Augusta wide receiver has a future at the next level.

Strom Thurmond coach Lee Sawyer , whose Rebels lost to North Augusta two weeks ago, compared Hazel's ability and body control to that of University of Georgia receiver A.J. Green .

"Don't get me wrong. A.J. is a special player," Sawyer said. "But Hazel is, too."

Silver Bluff coach Al Lown watched film of North Augusta in preparation for games against Midland Valley and South Aiken and saw Hazel catch touchdown after touchdown from quarterback Loranzo Hammonds .

"They were making plays with the defense all over them," Lown said. "An NFL team couldn't have covered them any better, and they were still making them."

Hazel has drawn the eye of rival coaches, but college coaches still haven't made a big move.

Western Michigan and Liberty have made offers as of Tuesday afternoon.

NOW IT COUNTS: Region play begins for North Augusta and Aiken, both in Region 5-AAAA, Friday night.

North Augusta (4-0) will play host to Dutch Fork (1-3), while Aiken (2-2) will travel to Lexington (1-3).

The Yellow Jackets own the best nonregion record as the only undefeated squad in the eight-team region.

North Augusta and Aiken will play each other in the final week of the regular season, Nov. 6, at North Augusta.

THE SHOW'S IN TOWN: Fans in the Augusta area will get their best chance to see Dexter Staley and his Williston-Elko teammates this Friday when the Blue Devils play Fox Creek at North Augusta's Lions Field.

Williston-Elko, undefeated and averaging 57.5 points per game, begins a three-week road trip that includes stops at Hunter-Kinard-Tyler and Ridge Spring-Monetta.

AP POLL

Because of an insufficient number of votes, there will be no South Carolina Associated Press prep football poll this week.

From the Wednesday, September 23, 2009 edition of the Augusta Chronicle
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