High School Football

North Augusta finishes Beaufort High's season in 2nd round of playoffs

sfastenau@beaufortgazette.comNovember 22, 2013 

Dan Pippin couldn't emulate the Beaufort High School offense in a week.

Not possible, Pippin said. But the seventh-year Yellow Jackets coach believed in his 4-3 defense, which doesn't show much on film but is solid fundamentally.

And North Augusta turned the tables on an Eagles team set on owning the clock. The Yellow Jackets plodded to a 23-10 victory on Friday in North Augusta to advance to a Class 4-A Division II semifinal at Northwestern.

"I was sweating bullets all week," said Pippin, whose team improved to 12-1. "In the playoffs, you can get a bunch of film. You could seem them throughout the year continually getting better and better."

The second-round game was set up as a contrast in offensive styles, the Yellow Jackets wanting to strike quick and Eagles wanting to hold. In the first round, Beaufort High had held the ball 25 minutes longer than Blythewood and ran 33 more plays.

But North Augusta ran 23 more plays than Beaufort High in only the first two quarters. It held the ball for seven more minutes in the first half.

When Beaufort High's leading rusher, Eric Blakely, left the game in the second half with an injury, the Eagles were forced to the air.

"Eric can make a lot of stuff happen and adds a whole other dynamic to the offense we've been running this year," Eagles quarterback Ben Vaigneur said. "He's no doubt a leader. We lean on him a lot and when he goes down, somebody's got to step up. I think everybody tried to do that, we just didn't get it done tonight."

Beaufort High (9-4) was eliminated after making the playoffs for the first time since 2010 and after winning its first playoff game since 2007.

To continue, Eagles coach Mark Clifford knew his team needed to play smart. A pair of penalties helped end drives during the first half: a hold on a first-down run in North Augusta territory and an illegal shift on a big third-down pass play.

But the Eagles' defense helped Beaufort High stick around, keeping safeties over the top and not allowing the deep ball. Defensive lineman Kentrell Seabrook helped control the line of scrimmage.

North Augusta, accustomed to quick-hit scores out of its spread offense, had to settle for underneath passes and inside running to slog down the field.

The Yellow Jackets finally punched one in when quarterback Trib Reece found Jaleel Bryant on a post route for a 9-yard touchdown during the second quarter -- after an 18-play, 99-yard drive.

"We've been doing this offense four or five years pretty fast," Pippin said. "Nobody's done that. We've always been able to throw the ball vertical."

After Beaufort High started the second half fast, with a big Blakely run leading to a field goal, North Augusta answered with another scoring drive and intercepted Vaigneur on the Eagles' next possession.

An 11-play Yellow Jackets' scoring drive helped put the game out of reach.

Beaufort High linebacker Mitchell Nestler delivered the Eagles' only touchdown with a 99-yard interception return in the fourth quarter.

Beaufort High defensive coordinator Andy Smyth invited his group to watch film Saturday morning. He told them he would be there.

"So many people doubted us at the beginning," Beaufort High safety Jordan Clegg said. "To see how far we've gotten, it's a big step in the program."

North Augusta 23, Beaufort High 10

Beaufort High 0 0 3 7 -- 10

North Augusta 0 9 14 0 -- 23

Second quarter

NA -- Blake Busby 20 FG 11:56

NA -- Jaleel Bryant 9 pass from Trib Reece (Kick failed) :30

Third quarter

B -- Brady Cormier 28 FG 9:44

NA -- Antaun Andrews 5 pass from Reece (Busby kick) 7:22

NA -- Bryant 2 pass from Reece (Busby kick) 1:44

Fourth quarter

B -- Mitchell Nestler 99 interception return (Cormier kick) 4:34

Team Stats

B NA

First Downs 9 22

Rushes-Yards 25-123 40-234

Comp-Att-Int 12-17-1 21-33-1

Passing Yards 109 196

Punts-Avg 3-43 3-25.3

Fumbles-Lost 0-0 2-0

Penalties-Yards 6-42 4-30

Third-Down Conv 2-6 6-10

Fourth-Down Conv 0-2 2-3

Individual stats

PASSING: Beaufort High -- Ben Vaigneur 12-17-109-1; North Augusta -- Trib Reece 21-33-196-1.

RUSHING: Beaufort High -- Eric Blakely 10-91, Jeffrey Tookes 7-21, Ben Vaigneur 6-14; North Augusta -- Willie McCloud 25-205, Ronald Williams 11-37, Reece 4- (-8).

RECEIVING: Beaufort High -- Stephen Baggett 5-73, Keaton Butler 4-28, Jawon Mack 1-6, Tookes 1-2; North Augusta -- Dre Dunbar 8-70, Kenyon West 7-69, Jaleel Bryant 3-21, Antaun Andrews 3-17, McCloud 1-18, Williams 1-1.

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