Head coach Dean Howell just got accustomed to Friday morning games.
Northside Christian Academy opted for an early start to Week 8 for its home finale. The Crusaders came away with its biggest point total and margin of victory of the season against winless Palmetto Christian.
The 60-20 win saw Northside Christian Academy (4-4, 1-2) have three players rush for over 100 yards. Sam Burks led the way with four touchdowns and 242 yards.
J.R. Kinard finished with 112 yards and two touchdowns and John Lizewski rushed for 104 yards and a touchdown. He was also 6-9 on PATs.
“I love it,” said Howell about the early start. “We’ve got a great administration here. We had a half day of school. It would have been weird either way, so the administration agreed. We brought the kids here, the high school kids came down here and watched the game until school was dismissed. Most of them stayed most of the game and It was fun. I enjoyed it.”
Northside Christian trailed 8-7 before scoring 52 unanswered points. The Crusaders outscored the Eagles 33-0 in the second quarter with Burks rushing for three straight touchdowns.
Peyton Shaw accounted for two fourth-quarter touchdowns for Palmetto Christian (0-9). He caught a 65-yard touchdown pass from Haden Burris and ended the game with an interception return for a touchdown for the same number of yards.
Northside Christian travels to Spartanburg Christian on Oct. 27. The winner can potentially finish in second place in Region 3-2A.
“Next week is a lot different ballgame coming ahead of us,” Howell said. “(Palmetto Christian) is very well-coached. They’ve just got a lot of young kids. They’re playing a bunch of freshmen and they’re a little bit on the struggle bus right now. But they’re going to be good. But Spartanburg is like us. They’ve been plugging away, plugging away and they’ve got a couple of older kids. This will be a test for us.”
Batesburg-Leesville 35, Pelion 0
Jamerius Clark had two touchdowns, one receiving and the other on a fumble recovery near the endzone, as Batesburg-Leesville clinched a playoff spot out of Region 3-2A.
Amadre Wooten, Tanner Rikard and Legend Toland also scored for Batesburg-Leesville (4-5, 2-2)
Placekicker Felipe Juarez Diaz was 5-5 on PATs, extending his school record for consecutive extra points to 41.
Gilbert 53, Dreher 6
The streak of rushing for over 100 yards and three and more touchdowns continued Friday for freshman running back Trevon Williamson.
He rushed for 189 yards and four touchdowns to go with quarterback Drake Braddock’s four touchdown passes to keep the Indians undefeated on the season.
Braddock threw for 230 yards. Krew Morris had five receptions for 100 yards and Connor Gooding caught two touchdowns for Gilbert (9-0, 4-0). On defense, Wynn Meetze had seven tackles and an interception.
The Indians will travel to Brookland-Cayce for the Region 5-3A championship.
Brookland-Cayce 49, Swansea 0
North Augusta 49, Airport 15
Newberry 47, Columbia 8
Saluda 28, Fox Creek 10
White Knoll 20, Chapin 14
It was a historic night in the Wolves Den.
The Timberwolves completed their first-ever undefeated season and clinched their first Region 4-5A title since 2014 with the victory.
Landon Sharpe threw for 247 yards and two touchdowns to C.J. Earl, who had seven receptions for 140 yards.
Sharpe also led White Knoll (9-0, 4-0) with 81 rushing yards. Sean Evans had a 9-yard touchdown run which gave the Timberwolves a 20-0 lead through three quarters.
Brady Albro rallied the Eagles with two touchdown passes to Cole Martin in an 18-second span. They connected on an 8-yard touchdown with 2:07 left and after Russell Gentry recovered an onside kick, got together on a 37-yard touchdown.
Albro finished with 213 yards on 27-43 passing. Martin had 10 receptions for 81 yards.
White Knoll recovered the onside kick and ran out the clock. It will open the Class 5A Lower State playoffs as a top seed following the bye week.
Chapin will play host to River Bluff in a contest to determine fourth place in the region.
Lexington 48, Aiken 18
The Wildcats rebounded from last week’s shutout loss to White Knoll by scoring the first 38 points in the non-region win.
Quarterback Taiden Mines threw for 118 yards and two touchdowns to Brandon Cromer and Tyler DeRienzo. Matthew MacAulay rushed for 114 yards and a score.
Linebacker Christian Sexton had 4 ½ tackles and an 18-yard interception return for a touchdown.
Lexington (7-2, 2-1) closes out the regular season at Dutch Fork. The winner clinches second place in Region 4-5A and will start the Class 5A playoffs at home in the Upper State.
IMG 53, Gray Collegiate 7
W.J. Keenan 42, Mid-Carolina 14
Photo by Thomas Grant Jr. – Northside Christian Academy running back John Lizewski with the touchdown run.