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Jequan Harris Injured; Thurmond Falls to North Augusta

By David Whatley

web posted September 22, 2017
SPORTS There was an exciting and promising start to the Strom Thurmond versus North Augusta football game.  After winning the coin toss and electing to receive, North Augusta threw for an interception on their first play.  Outside linebacker, Deshaun Miles returned the ball to the Yellow Jacket 3 yard line and was stopped by the hosting quarterback, Landon Washington.  A false start by the Rebels on 1st and Goal, backed the ball back up to the eight yard line.  After a short, 1 yard run and an incomplete pass, quarterback, Jequan Harris connected with wide receiver, Tyrek Williams for a 7 yard touchdown pass.  Lawson Reel's extra point kick was good and Thurmond led 7-0 with 10:43 left in the 1st quarter.

Reel's second kick off was returned to the Rebel 38 yard line where Reel made the tackle saving the touchdown.  Demonstrating some fighting spirit of their own, the Yellow Jackets scored with a pass on the very next play.  QB Landon Washington connected with wide receiver, Junius Walker for the touchdown.  The extra point was good and the game was tied 7-7 with 10:07 left in the first quarter.

Thurmond's next possession netted a couple of 1st downs and a couple of penalties, but fizzled out on North Augusta's 31 yard line, where, Lawson Reel was called on to punt.  The well-placed punt rolled out-of-bounds at the Yellow Jacket 3 yard line.

North Augusta running back, Derian Gibson broke for an, off the tackle, 62 yard run setting up 1st and 10 on the Thurmond 35 yard line.  The Rebel defense yielded a first down, but held on to force the Jackets to attempt a field goal from the 12 yard line.  Thurmond blocked the attempt and Thurmond's Josh Pixley caught the ball in the air, returning it to the Rebel 18 yard line.  The ensuing drive made steady, measured progress with Harris at the controls.  Eight running plays and 3 receptions moved the ball to the North Augusta 16 yard line, where Thurmond failed to convert on 4th and 2, turning the ball over to the Jackets on downs.

North Augusta made efficient use of this possession and 5 plays later, QB Landon Washington muscled his way into the end zone carrying a host of Rebels after, seemingly, being stopped at the 5 yard line.  The Jackets faked the field goal and ran the ball in for a 2 point conversion making the score 15-7 in their favor.

Thurmond received the kick off and began their next series from their own 27 yard line.  After completing a couple of nice passes, and a good run by Edwards, the Rebels found themselves at the North Augusta 45 yard line.  Disaster struck on the next play with QB Harris injuring his ankle on a 4 yard run around the corner.  Receiver, Tyrek Williams would stand in for the remainder of the evening as the Thurmond quarterback.  After gaining a 1st down, Williams was thrown for a loss.  He showed a strong arm on the next two pass plays but both fell incomplete and the Rebels were forced to punt.

North Augusta could not make anything happen with this series of downs and punted the ball back to Thurmond who took over at the Yellow Jacket 46 yard line with 8.3 seconds remaining in the half.  Williams took a knee on the next play and took his team to the locker room trailing by 8.

The Rebels took receipt of the second half kick off starting at their own 30.  Edwards, Williams, and senior, Javin Holston combined for ground yardage picking up a 1st down.  Then, Edwards fumbled on a carry that was recovered by North Augusta.  Taking over on their own 46 yard line.  Several plays later, the Jackets punted to the Thurmond 6 yard line.  This excellent effort by the North Augusta punter was thwarted by an unsportsman-like conduct penalty against his own bench.  Fifteen yards were marched off and the Rebels took over on their 21 yard line.

The favorable call failed to produce positive results with the Rebel squad going three and out on three consecutive Williams runs.  Reel's punt left the Yellow Jackets with great field position on the Thurmond 38.  Three plays later, Derian Gibson ran for a 41 yard touchdown.  The point after attempt was good and the score was North Augusta 22, Thurmond 7.

Wide receiver, Ty Johnson returned the Jackets kick off to the Rebel 19 to start the next series.  The drive ended after five plays with Reel punting to North Augusta's Dejuan Bell.  In an electrifying return, Bell took it all the way into the end zone.  The extra point attempt missed and the score was 28-7.

Thurmond started on their own 20 yard line after the kick from North Augusta went through the end zone.  Edwards ran a couple of plays picking up a 1st down, then another for 3 more yards.  On 2nd and 8, from their own 33, Williams ran the ball all the way down to the North Augusta 25, but the play was called back on a surprising targeting penalty that occurred when Williams crossed mid-field and lower his headgear, bulldozing a defending player.  On 2nd and 13, Williams completed a pass to receiver, Jamarvious Jones, ending the third quarter,  On the next play, Williams ran the ball in for the score.  Reel's kick was good, and the Rebels drew within two scores, 28-14.

North Augusta's next series of downs fizzled out after five plays, and Ty Johnson called for a fair catch on the Rebel 21.  Thurmond went only 7 yards in three downs before Lawson Reel's foot was called into action.  The usually reliable kicker, however, glanced this punt off the side of his foot.  The 3 yard punt left The Yellow Jackets with superb field position, on their opponent's 32 yard line.  Gibson and Washington teamed up to cover those 32 yards, with Gibson scoring on a 1 yard run.  Another faked field goal attempt was tried but the 2 point run was stopped and the score stood at 34-14 with 6:48 left in the game.

Stand-in quarterback, Tyrek Williams started the next drive by receiving the kick off at the 5 yard line and returning it to the Rebel 41.  Edwards would carry the next three plays ultimately making his way to the North Augusta 45 yard line.  Then, Williams got in on the ground game with a couple of carries of his own, combining with more Edwards yardage, the two covered the length of the field behind a determined offensive line.  Edwards scored from 11 yards out with 2:55 remaining.  After an illegal motion penalty on the extra point try, Reel kicked it through the uprights bringing the score to 34-21.

Thurmond set up for an onside kick but the ball was quickly covered by North Augusta, who, stayed with a ground game to eat up the clock.  Failing to get the 1st down, they punted to Tyrek Williams who stepped out of bounds at his own 10 yard line. 

The Rebels played football until the final second, picking up 16 yards with runs by Williams and Edwards, as well as passes to Ty Johnson and Philip Merriweather.

Thurmond's record is 3-2 as they head into conference play.  

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