After reacting to what Orangeburg Prep was doing to them defensively in the first half of Friday night’s South Carolina Independent School Class AAA second round playoff game, the Augusta Christian Lions changed their tactics.
Tied at 12, the Lions set the tone opening the second half. They went 90 yards in 16 plays using 8:04 of the clock, with quarterback Tyler Roberson finding the end zone on fourth-and-goal. They would score three more rushing touchdowns in the half and go on to the 39-26 win.
With the win, the Lions (12-0) advanced to the conference’s championship game, a goal they set at the beginning of the year.
“I’m happy for the seniors for them to reach that goal,” said fourth-year head coach Keith Walton. “They’ve been here twice and lost in this round, so that was huge.”
The Lions will play Hammond next Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
Getting there wasn’t easy.
The Lions had just 94 yards rushing and three first downs in the first half as the Indians gave them different looks on defense. Adjusting blocking schemes, the Lions came out with a smash-mouth attitude and finished with 341 total rushing yards, led by fullback Sean Sweetings 134 yards on 11 carries.
“We came back in at half and said we’re going to get back to the old grind and run it down their throat and had an eight-minute drive right off the bat,” said Sweeting.
Thomas Banks scored on the Lions second possession as they went up 26-12, but as they had done all night, the Indians answered with a 54-yard scoring pass from Marion McMurry to Derek Andrews to get within a touchdown.
McMurry connected with Andrews eight times for 162 yards and three touchdowns on the night, including two in a 27-second span at the end of the second quarter that erased a Lions’ 12-0 lead.
Despite McMurry’s numbers, the Lions defense did a good job keeping up the pressure, sacking him eight times.
Roberson rushed 16 times for 130 yards and three touchdowns while finding Nick Fortenberry for a 28-yard touchdown pass.
Sweeting broke free up the middle on a 34-yard touchdown with 1:49 to play, giving the Lions a 39-19 lead and all but sealing the win.
Orangeburg Prep 0 12 0 14 – 26
Augusta Christian 0 12 7 20 – 39
A-Nick Fortenberry 28 pass from Tyler Roberson (Heath Brace conversion fail), 8:36
A-Roberson 50 run (conversion fail), 6:38
O-Derek Andrews 12 pass from Marion McMurry (kick fail), 2:30
O-Andrews 29 pass from McMurry (kick blocked), 2:13
A-Roberson 4 run (Heath Brace kick), 3:48
A-Thomas Banks 5 run (Brace kick), 11:25
O-Andrews 54 pass from McMurry (Hunter Pickens kick), 9:34
A-Roberson 14 run (Brace kick), 5:43
A-Sean Sweeting 34 run (kick fail), 1:49
O-Reed Grubbs 33 pass from McMurry (Pickens kick), :26
First Downs 15 18
Rushes-Yards 32-102 41-341
Passing Yards 213 82
Comp.-Att.-Int. 12-19-1 5-10-0
Fumbles-Lost 1-0 1-1
Punts-Yards 4-131 3-101
Penalties-Yards 4-30 12-120
RUSHING–Orangeburg Prep: Michael Pascoe 19-60, Marion McMurry 11- -33, Reed Grubbs 2-9. Augusta Christian: Thomas Banks 14-77, Sean Sweeting 11-134, Tyler Roberson 16-130.
PASSING–Orangeburg Prep: McMurry 12-19-1 213. Augusta Christian: Roberson 5-10-0 82 RECEIVING–Orangeburg Prep: Derek Andrews 8-162. Grubbs 2-44. Calder West 2-7. Augusta Christian: Nick Fortenberry 3-41, Banks. 1-6, Grant Newman 1-35.