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The Augusta Chronicle (Georgia)
It's hard to believe, but we are less than a month away from the kickoff of high school football for 2018.
Recently, Augusta TV station WJBF (Channel 6) released its broadcast schedule for the upcoming season. This is the eighth year of WJBF's Game Night Live offering which is a live game broadcast each Friday Night during the regular season. The games have produced some incredible moments over the years, and 2018 should be no different.
There will be 12 total matchups beginning Aug. 17 when Thomson visits North Augusta in a battle of two perennial powerhouses in the area. From there, a Columbia County team is featured in five of the next 11 weeks, and all five of our public-school programs will be featured at least once.
Here is a look at the games featuring teams from Columbia County.
Aug. 24 — Evans @ North Augusta
Both of these teams have to replace most of their key performers on offense. For the Yellow Jackets, three-year starting QB Landon Washington, 1,000-yard rusher Derius Gibson and speedy two-way star Dejuan Bell were lost to graduation. Each was a Border Bowl V participant and both accounted for virtually the entire North Augusta offense last season. Evans must replace the offensive tandem of Corey Watkins (RB) and Damekus Taylor (QB). Watkins signed with Furman University, while Taylor transferred to Thomson. Expect elite athletes Dedrick Holmes and Derrick Canteen, who were defensive standouts last year, to play a big role on the offense this year.
Sept. 14 — Evans @ Burke County
As if a trip to North Augusta was not hard enough, Evans must travel to the favorite for the area's best team this year. Sure, Burke County has to replace speed-burner Damari Kelly (QB/DB) and Bill Knight (QB), but they return a star in the making in junior RB Leon McGee who could be a handful for the Knights' defense.
Sept. 21 — Jefferson County @ Harlem
Most seasons this would be an automatic win for the Warriors but perhaps not in 2018. The Bulldogs feature two of the premier offensive talents in the entire CSRA in running backs Cameron Garnett (sophomore) and A.J. Brown (senior). Both rambled for more than 1,000 yards last season and should be primed for more big numbers in 2018. Jefferson County will counter with my pre-season pick for CSRA Player of the Year in QB Jaden Jenkins. Jenkins went 70 of 100 for 1,120 yards and 16 touchdowns through the air and rushed for 935 yards and 11 more scores on 102 carries. He did this while splitting time at QB. This year the job is full-time, which could mean big things for the dual-threat QB.
Oct. 12 — Grovetown @ Greenbrier
This matchup got very interesting in January when word circulated that Greenbrier star JQ Brown had transferred to Grovetown. Brown has rushed for more than 1,000 yards each of the past two seasons and makes the loss of Deangelo Durham a little easier to deal with. The Warriors also have a few big time college prospects on defense, so the Pack's offense may have a tough night.
Oct. 19 — Lakeside @ Grovetown
As mentioned previously Grovetown has some great athletes on defense. Lakeside may not be able to match up athletically, but Coach Steve Hibbetts always has his kids ready to go and seems to do more, with less on that side of the ball. Therefore, this should be a dogfight for the Warriors.
The games will be live each Friday night on ME-TV 6-2 and streamed live at wjbf.com. The games will be rebroadcast on Sundays at 12:30 p.m. on WJBF.
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