Jackets' defense stingy in win
By Billy Byler | Staff Writer
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Second half highlights.

NORTH AUGUSTA --- As hyped and high-powered as the North Augusta offense has been this season, it was the team's defense that set the stage Friday night for a 29-0 victory over visiting Dutch Fork.

The Yellow Jackets' offense, averaging 35 points a game, received much of the attention as the team went undefeated in nonregion play. But in front of a 5-AAAA opponent, the defense stood out.

"I don't think they get the credit they deserve sometimes, because of the way our offense scores," North Augusta coach Dan Pippin said of his defensive players. "They played lights out, and we needed them tonight."

Three Yellow Jackets grabbed interceptions in the first half to give the home team good field position when the offense needed it most. North Augusta (5-0, 1-0) went scoreless in the first quarter for the first time this season, but the Jackets scored 19 points before halftime.

"We saw our offense was down, but we knew they would come back," North Augusta end Emeka Okafor said. "When we see something like that, we know we as a defense have to work extra hard. And I think when we do that, it lifts the offense up and gets them fired up."

The Yellow Jackets, who had scored by their second possession of the game all season long, went three-and-out on their opening drive and didn't score until their fifth possession, when they took over on the Dutch Fork 14-yard line. Quarterback Loranzo Hammonds found Jessie Pernell from 10 yards out for the first of his two passing touchdowns.

A Jaylon Meyers interception on Dutch Fork's next possession put North Augusta at the Silver Foxes' 12. Demarcus Rouse ran the ball in from 9 yards out for a 13-0 lead.

With a two-score lead and some breathing room, the Yellow Jackets offense swung into full gear to beat the first-half clock for an 80-yard scoring drive.

Hammonds found Matt Hazel on a 48-yard catch-and-run touchdown to take a 19-0 lead.

North Augusta opened the second half with an 80-yard scoring drive to put the game out of reach.

Reach Billy Byler at (706) 823-3216 or billy.byler@augustachronicle.com.

NORTH AUGUSTA 29, DUTCH FORK 0

PLAY OF THE GAME: After a pair of 11-yard plays on short passes to wide receiver Matt Hazel , North Augusta quarterback Loranzo Hammonds faked the short pass and caught Hazel midstride for a 48-yard touchdown pass late in the first half.

PLAYER OF THE GAME: Emeka Okafor delivered several bone-crushing hits and led the defense.

WHY NORTH AUGUSTA WON: The Yellow Jackets' defense turned in its best performance with three interceptions in a shutout against a region opponent.

WHY DUTCH FORK LOST: The Silver Foxes' offense never sustained a drive.

Next: North Augusta at White Knoll, 7:30 p.m. Friday

From the Saturday, September 26, 2009 edition of the Augusta Chronicle
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