Count Fox Creek as the team that walked off the football field with the biggest smiles Friday night. After an 0-6 start, the Predators finally found the win column in a 35-14 victory over Wagener-Salley.
The visiting War Eagles were also winless and had just gone through a coaching change, but Fox Creek head coach Russ Schneider said the key to victory was keeping his players focused on their own play instead of their opponent.
"We've really taken a bigger emphasis on film study the last few weeks, and we're able to breat it down and eliminate a lot of our mistakes," Schneider said. "We feel like we're a team that's probably two wins better than we are right now, and it's those mistakes that hurt us. But last night was one of those nights where everything finally came together."
PARTY CRASHED: Lost in the middle of a region defeat at the hands of rival Irmo was a coming out party by a pair of North Augusta receivers.
North Augusta senior Matt Hazel is well known around the region as the team's top receiver, but it was junior Jessie Pernell and sophomore Montez McGuire who stood out.
"Jessie Pernell is the best receiver on any other team, he just has Hazel," North Augusta coach Dan Pippin said.
"And Montez McGuire is a sophomore version of Matt Hazel."
Pernell had a season-high eight receptions for 75 yards and a touchdown, while McGuire added five catches for 96 yards including a 46-yard, fourth-quarter touchdown that tied the game.
PLAYOFF BOUND: Lakeside didn't clinch a playoff berth with its win over Richmond Academy.
With four games remaining, the Panthers (5-1, 4-1) have a two-game lead over Glenn Hills and Cross Creek, each at 2-3 in Region 3-AAAA.
"We've got to get better every week," Lakeside coach Jody Grooms said. "We're Lakeside. We're not good enough to overlook anybody. We've got to push these kids, and we will expect some high performance out of these kids in practice and in the games on Friday."
BLAMING HIMSELF: Richmond Academy coach Chris Hughes accepted responsibility for his team's 16-6 loss to Lakeside.
The Musketeers (4-2, 4-1) lost three turnovers and generated very little offense.
"It's my fault. I got outcoached. We got outplayed," Hughes said. "I didn't have the guys ready. It's tough. You've got all kind of different distractions. And I just didn't have the guys ready."
MAKING HISTORY: With its win over Glenn Hills, Hephzibah improved to 5-1. According to ghsfha.org, the Rebels have started 5-1 just twice before (1955 and 1992).
The Rebels will bid for the school's first 6-1 start on Friday against Harlem.
Staff writer Chris Gay contributed to this report.
Reach Billy Byler at (706) 823-3216 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
RUSHING: Taylor Barrentine, Thomas Jefferson, 203 yards on seven carries in a 62-12 win over David Emanuel
PASSING: Loranzo Hammonds, North Augusta, 299 yards in a 31-24 loss to Irmo
RECEIVING: Montez McGuire, North Augusta, 96 yards on five receptions in a 31-24 loss to Irmo