North Marion, Spartanburg, Byrnes, Mill Creek all improve to 5-0

In Florida…North Marion (FL) defeated Gainesville 37-28 to improve to 5-0 this season. Jordan Woods and Sherman Jones each had fumble recoveries for touchdowns while Cameron Mackey, Caleb Seiler and Justin Watkins each had rushing touchdowns for the Colts.

The Colts played most of the game without standout receiver Freddie Swain. Swain suffered a shoulder injury early in the game and did not return. Head coach Stephen Field indicated Swain was “ok”.

Gainesville’s Caelan Christian passed for three touchdowns and rushed for another. Dock Luckie caught two touchdown pass for the Hurricanes in the loss.

North Marion will look to improve to 6-0 for the first time in school history next Friday when they face Eastside (0-4). Eastside feel 28-14 to Forest Friday night.

In South Carolina…Spartanburg (5-0) remained undefeated with a 55-7 victory over Riverside with another display of the depth of weapons they possess. Junior Eric Rice caught two touchdown passes and recovered a fumble in the endzone for a touchdown for the Vikings. Tavien Feaster, Tavaris Scott and Ladarius Jones each caught touchdown passes from Austin Scott. Scott passed for over 400 yards with five touchdowns while MIke Murphy returned an interception for a touchdown.

Spartanburg (5-0; 1-0) will travel to rival Byrnes (5-0; 1-0) next Friday.

Byrnes remained undefeated by winning its region opener 28-23 over Boiling Springs 28-23. Micah Young connected with Jaylan Foster for the Rebels only passing touchdown of the night. Quez Mayes added a rushing touchdown however it was two fourth quarter rushing touchdowns by Steadman Rogers that sealed the victory. Rogers first touchdown run put Byrnes ahead 22-16 while his second extended the lead to 28-16 before Boiling Springs pulled to within five on a Mason Streater to Travalas Massey touchdown pass for the final margin.

In Georgia…Mill Creek improved to 5-0 for the first time in the school’s history with a 28-0 road win over North Gwinnett (2-3; 0-2). It marked the first time in school history the Hawks defeated the Bulldogs. Running back Daniel Laconte rushed for over 150 yards and three touchdowns while Cameron Turley connected with Miles Riley for a passing touchdown in the Hawks victory. Mill Creek’s defense recorded three interceptions.

North Gwinnett leads the all-time series 9-1 over Mill Creek.

Mill Creek (5-0; 2-0) will host an improved Meadowcreek next Friday. North Gwinnett was shutout for the first time since 2009 when Camden Camden defeated them 35-0 in the quarterfinals of the 5A playoffs. The Bulldogs will travel to Norcross (5-0; 2-0) next Friday.

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Langston Hughes Wins Region 3-6A Opener

Langston Hughes and Douglas County each were looking for its first win of the season in the region opener for both on a misty first Friday night of the fall.

Junior quarterback Isaiah Green got it started right off the bat leading Langston Hughes down the field 66 yards in five plays on their opening possession capping it with an 11-yard touchdown pass to DeShawn Ross giving the Panthers a 7-0 lead with 8:29 left in the opening quarter.

Douglas County would get on the board early in the second quarter by cashing in on a Langston Hughes turnover. DJ Avery powered in for a yard out capping a 15-play drive that began in the first quarter tying the contest 7-all with 10:22 in the second quarter.

The game would change later in the second quarter when Douglas County was forced to punt. Langston Hughes’ Rashad Burch juggled the catch at the Panthers 20, three Douglas County players failed to tackle him leading to Burch racing 80 yards for the touchdown putting the Panthers ahead 14-7 lead with 2:56 left in the half which held through halftime.

Langston Hughes (1-3; 1-0 Region 3-6A) would not let up as Aaron Finch intercepted Douglas County’s Malik Oliver on the first play of the third quarter, returning it to 55 yards to the Tigers eight. After a pair of penalties, Hughes was first and goal from the twenty-two, Green hit Burch in the left corner for a 22-yard touchdown pass and a 21-7 lead. Burch was not finished. After the Panthers forced a Douglas County punt on the next possession, Burch returned the punt 27 yards to the Tigers 19, two plays later it was Green to Burch for a 20-yard touchdown pass making it 28-7 with 7:29 remaining in the third quarter.

Douglas County (0-4; 0-1 Region 3-6A) cut the lead in half on a 5-yard touchdown pass from Oliver to Cauthen to make it 28-14 with 9:30 remaining in the fourth quarter.  The Tigers would have more than one opportunity to pull closer and make a game of it. After forcing a punt the Tigers were turned over on downs at their own 45. One play later, John Brown intercepted a tipped pass and returned it 13 yards to the Panthers 37 however the Tigers were unable to cash it n as they were turned over on downs again, this time on the Panthers ten to seal the game.

Green finished 15-21 192 yards three touchdowns and one interception. Burch finished with 131 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns (two receiving and one punt return). Jeffrey Allison, Keyshaun Clark and Joshua Brown led a Panthers defense that allowed only less than 200 yards of total offense to Douglas County.  Freshmen Dequavious Parker and Charles Thomas showed why they are on the starting defensive unit with outstanding play all evening.

Langston Hughes will travel to Campbell-Smyrna (2-2; 0-1) next week while Douglas County will travel to Newnan (3-1; 1-0).

Archive coverage of this contest can be heard on Total Sports Coverage.

Colts take 48th meeting against Knights

Marion County’s (FL) longest running series continued last Friday night from Booster Stadium in Ocala, FL when the Vanguard Knights hosted their northern county neighbors, the North Marion Colts.

North Marion, ranked fourth in the 5A AP state poll and 19th in the FloridaHSFootball.com Sunshine State 25, got off to a quick 14-0 nothing lead as Caleb Seiler connected with James Mitchell and Justin Watkins for touchdown passes of 43 and 10 yards on the Colts first two possessions.

Vanguard would make it interesting on more than one occasion. After a 7-yard touchdown run by Alonzo Taylor, Vanguard forced North Marion to punt from its own end zone after a three-and-out. North Marion would botch the snap and give up a safety. On the ensuing possession Vanguard faced a fourth and goal for the two yard-line trailing 14-8. North Marion would keep Vanguard out of the endzone and the offense answered by going 98 yards in three plays to take a 21-8 lead on a 9-yard Justin Watkins touchdown run.

A late second quarter Vanguard touchdown made it 21-14 at the half.

In the second half, Vanguard score on a 47-yard screen pass from N’Kosi Perry to Alonzo Taylor to pull within 21-20 after another failed extra point- Vanguard was 0-of-5 on PATs in the game. That would be as close as Vanguard would get.

North Marion proceeded to score 21 unanswered points on a three-yard touchdown run by Cameron Mackey, 27-yard touchdown run by Watkins and 30-plus yard fumble return by defensive/offensive lineman Darius Carr in the third quarter to take a commanding 42-20 lead. Watkins finished with two rushing touchdowns and one receiving touchdown. Standout wide receiver Freddie Swain did not score a touchdown despite recording close to 100 yard receiving yards

Perry would connect with Darryn Lake on two late touchdown passes for Vanguard to make the final 42-32 score more respectable. Lake finished with three touchdown receptions (all from Perry).

The Colts (3-0) senior-laden defense was led by four-star recruit Jordan Woods, Desmond Carson and Khali Mitchell  among others in an good defensive effort barring big plays by Vanguard (2-1).

North Marion won its third consecutive game in the series and lead the overall series 25-23. Vanguard dropped its eighth straight game against ranked opponents since 2012.

North Marion will host Pasco at Stan Toole Memorial Stadium Friday while Vanguard will travel to Lakewood.

The audio broadcast of this contest can be heard on Total Sports Coverage.