Yellow Jackets open with quality win
NORTH AUGUSTA 32, THOMSON 24
NORTH AUGUSTA — They didn’t make anything easy on him, but the quality win was more than worth the trouble for Brian Thomas.
His North Augusta Yellow Jackets, opening the season with a dream matchup against Georgia powerhouse Thomson, raced out to an early lead and then held on late for a 32-24 win.
“We just hung in there. We had a great first half offensively, did well,” Thomas said. “Made some mistakes, little things we’ve got to do better. We’ve got to get more physical up front.”
With their lead cut to 25-18, the Yellow Jackets started the fourth quarter on their own 7-yard line after a Thomson punt.
This was after the Thomson offense woke up behind a massive offensive line and shifty quarterback Damekus Taylor, and the Bulldogs had stolen away all the momentum.
Then Jacari Buckson started heating up.
Buckson, a sophomore running back who’s one of many attempting to fill Derius Gibson’s shoes, ripped off runs of 28 and 38 yards on the ensuing drive, and a Thomson personal foul added another 15.
Just 4:17 later, North Augusta was in the end zone. Bradley Godwin’s 1-yard quarterback sneak, his second rushing touchdown of the night, re-established the Jackets’ two-score cushion.
“I tell you what, offensive line stepped up,” Thomas said. “Jacari ran like a man. He did a great job. He was hot, and just keep feeding him while he was hot.”
Thomson added a touchdown in the final minute, when Taylor hit Taymarion Martin for a 32-yard score. But North Augusta linebacker Chris Torres recovered the ensuing onside kick, and the Jackets were in the victory formation just moments later.
Buckson rushed for 167 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries to lead the Jackets. Godwin added 97 yards and his two scores, and Tanner White threw for 65 yards and a first-half touchdown.
Taylor, who rushed for three touchdowns against North Augusta last year while playing for Evans, tormented the Jackets again. He passed for 134 yards and a score and rushed for 171 and two more.
“Hey man, he’s a weapon. There’s no doubt about it,” Thomas said. “Those offensive linemen are huge. They get on us, they kind of buried us a little bit. But a win’s a win.”
Caree Collier got the season started in style, snagging a short opening kickoff and returning it 65 yards for the touchdown. Buckson scored from 26 yards out just over 2 minutes later, and White found Zion Dobbs from 13 yards out right before the end of the first quarter to put North Augusta ahead 18-0.
Thomson finally got moving in the second quarter, with Taylor putting the Bulldogs on the board with an 18-yard run. But North Augusta answered quickly, with Godwin’s 35-yard touchdown run giving the Jackets a 25-6 lead at halftime.
Thomson heated up in the third quarter, with Taylor and Bubba Murray each scoring rushing touchdowns to close the gap to 25-18. The Bulldogs pinned the Jackets at their own 7 heading into the fourth and looked to have all of the momentum.
It flipped quickly, and North Augusta restored order in the fourth.
Up next for the Yellow Jackets is a road game next Friday at Evans.
Thomson 0 6 12 6 — 24
North Augusta 18 7 0 7 — 32
NA — Caree Collier 65 kick return (kick blocked) 11:50
NA — Jacari Buckson 26 run (conversion failed) 9:22
NA — Tanner White 13 pass to Zion Dobbs (conversion failed) 0:34
T — Damekus Taylor 18 run (kick missed) 8:35
NA — Bradley Godwin 35 run (Grayson Bridgers kick) 7:15
T — Taylor 16 run (conversion failed) 8:09
T — Bubba Murray 4 run (kick missed) 3:31
NA — Godwin 1 run (Tyler Nichols kick) 10:43
T — Taylor 32 pass to Taymarion Martin (conversion failed) 0:58
T — Damekus Taylor 27-171-2, Bubba Murray 15-59-1, Dylan Hobbs 4-18, Travis Moss 4-14. Totals 50-262-3.
NA — Jacari Buckson 14-167-1, Bradley Godwin 16-97-2, Malik Williams 6-23, Tanner White 2-16, Team 1-(-4). Totals 39-299-3.
T — Damekus Taylor 11-19-134-1-0.
NA — Tanner White 4-6-65-1-0, Bradley Godwin 2-10-24-0-0.
T — Taymarion Martin 2-42-1, Devin McNair 3-37, Bubba Murray 3-21, Jamyes Evans 1-19, Kendarian Lane 1-18, Kenneth Neloms 1-(-3). Totals 11-134-1.
NA — Zion Dobbs 2-49-1, Junius Walker 3-32, Chris Wilder 1-8. Totals 6-89-1.