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White Knoll Timberwolves slam into a North Augusta brick wall in the Wolf’s Den Friday Night

White Knoll, SC (Paul Kirby) – The White Knoll High School Timberwolves took on the Yellow Jackets of North Augusta Friday night at the T-Wolves’ Den on Platt Springs Road. Honestly, as much as I love the boys from “The Bank," it’s a little more accurate to say that they shared the field with the apparently far superior team from the SC, Georgia border city to our west. In the end, the scoreboard reflected the “whooping” the Yellowjackets gave our boys for most of the 60 minutes that the clock dragged on..

White Knoll kicked off to North Augusta to begin the game, but flags flew on the second play of the quarter. This turned into a common occurrence throughout the remainder of the match,with most of the flags flying against our boys in burgundy. That first series, the WK defense held the jackets to a 3 and out, but after that, the game tipped in favor of North Augusta, and despite valiant efforts by the staff and players of White Knoll, it continued that way for the rest of the match.

White Knoll turned the ball over almost immediately after taking possession, putting the Wolves' defensive unit on the field. NA’s senior quarterback Landon Washington got his team rolling down the field, and for the most part, the Wolves’ defense seemed powerless to slow them down. Within a few minutes, the Jackets put it all together and ended up in the end zone to put them up by 6 points. The PAT was good, and the board showed the Yellow Jackets 7, Timberwolves 0.

White Knoll took possession again with the team fired up to avenge their opponent's scoring drive, but although they moved the ball some, a quick interception thrown into the waiting hands of a North Augusta defender put an end to that drive quickly. The Yellow Jackets capitalized on that turnover, putting another 6 on the board. On a bright note, the Wolves blocked the PAT kick attempt and held the score at North Augusta 13, White Knoll 0.

White Knoll Coach Dean Howell and his staff pulled their starting QB, put in sophomore Aveon Smith, and made another go of it with him under center. At first, this change seemed to be the magic they needed to get their offense jump started. With a bit over 1:30 showing on the clock in the 1st quarter, Smith scrambled into the end zone to put WK on the board. The PAT was good, and this made the score WK-7, NA-13.

There’s always hope this early in a game, and jitters could have easily been blamed on the Wolves’ poor performance in the 1st quarter. Unfortunately, after watching the rest of the game, that didn’t seem to be the problem. Those problems were many, on both sides of the ball, and easily identified by even the most inexperienced fans.

Deep into the second quarter, North Augusta pulled a little switcheroo reverse that put the ball in the hands of senior quarterback / cornerback Kashawn Johnson. He connected with a Yellow Jackets' receiver that put NA back in the end zone for another 7. The PAT was good, and the score was NA-20, WK-7.

Suddenly another glimpse of hope from the T-Wolves as a special team’s member returned the kickoff for nearly the entire length of the field. In short order, WK’s senior running back Albert Hope, a fitting last name for sure, took the ball in to score once more for the Wolves’. After a beautiful effort for the PAT by WK’s extra point kicker, the score was WK-14, NA-20.

North Augusta scored again with about 5:35 showing on the clock in the 2nd quarter, went for a 2-point conversion which they made, and the score changed to NA 28, WK 14. At that point, North Augusta jumped in the driver’s seat and never looked back.

The Yellow Jackets put it in the end zone again late in the 2nd quarter, but an offensive holding brought that one back. They weren’t satisfied with that mistake, and redeemed themselves when they got the ball back by completing a nice pass to score again. After a nice PAT kick, NA led 35 to 14.

White Knoll couldn’t stop the mistakes or the bleeding. On the last play of the first half, the Wolves’ QB connected, but not with one of his receivers; rather he again put the ball in the hands of a Yellow Jacket. The clock ran out on the half before the Jackets could capitalize on that, and the teams went into the locker rooms at the half with the T-Wolves watching the Jackets drive away. White Knoll was really outplayed on both sides of the ball in the first half, and it was more of the same in the second.

White Knoll had another interception in the early stages of the second half. North Augusta’s QB connected a long bomb with a receiver deep down the field with about 4:48 showing in the 3rdquarter. A short run on the next play then put them in the end zone for 6, followed by a successful PAT that brought the score to 42-14.

As hard as Coach Howell, his staff, and players tried, they just couldn’t get anything going. After about the third quarterback change on the Wolves side, and every other play and trick in the book was exhausted, the final buzzer sounded with the score reflecting a drubbing of the T-Wolves by the Jackets of 42-14.

In fairness to all, White Knoll has some youth and inexperience on their team. Sophomore Aveon Smith shows some promise at quarterback, but he needs time to mature and settle down. When his o-line collapses or leaks, and the defense brings pressure, he can scramble, but often tries to make awkward passes on the run that ends up in the hands of their opponents. In fact, it seemed almost as if White Knoll completed more passes to North Augusta’s players than they did their own. When Smith does hold onto the ball, he can scramble for yardage, and has the sense to slide it out at the end to stay healthy. Tip of the week; rushed passes under tremendous pressure from the defense doesn’t usually work out well at the high school level. Hold the ball, scramble for what you can, slide down when the defense gets close, and live on for the next play.

White Knoll’s team is big, well-conditioned, and well coached. What they need is age, the experience that comes with that, more experience against ranked, big, well-conditioned, and well coached opponents, and more hard work. Knowing Coach Howell as I do, the hard work is there and the rest will come with time.

Although Maxprep has White Knoll ranked at #15 in their class in SC, and North Augusta listed as #19, and both are showing 3 and 0 on the year, Friday night, the Timberwolves were simply outplayed and outclassed in Red Bank.. They really got their behinds spanked, and hopefully they can take their pain and embarrassment and turn it into a win next week.

Coach Howell, his staff, and team have a long week ahead as they try to work the bugs out in preparation for next week’s conference game at Spring Valley. Without some big changes, that game could be a real embarrassment for our boys too. The Vikings are currently ranked #9 in SC in their class and they have a 5-0 record going into that game.

The game is scheduled to be played at Spring Valley which is located at 120 Sparkleberry Ln, Columbia, SC. Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m.

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