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Play-making trio will lead Yellow Jackets

Posted: August 16, 2017 - 12:28am
North Augusta’s RB Derius Gibson (left) practices on July 28 with QB Landon Washington at the North Augusta Yellow Jackets Football practice.

When North Augusta defeated Strom Thurmond in a four-overtime thriller last season, head coach Brian Thomas sprinted from the sideline and celebrated with his team in the end zone.

A year later, Thomas smiles when he recalls that moment.

"I was excited for the kids," he said. "They made big plays when it counted."

Thomas and the Yellow Jackets will be looking for more of those when the football season begins Friday night at Lakeside. The game is just one of a handful of tough nonregion games North Augusta will play this season.

The Yellow Jackets also take on Evans, Strom Thurmond and former region foes Lexington and White Knoll.

"You can only get better if you play strong teams," Thomas said.

North Augusta is looking for its first region championship since 2013, but the Yellow Jackets figure to battle defending Region 4-AAAA champ South Aiken for the title.

"We've just got to get out and get on a roll early, need some success early," Thomas said. "We had a tough region last year. South Aiken had a heck of a football team. Aiken has some athletes. Midland Valley is getting better, and Airport as well. It's a good region."

North Augusta has a trio of playmakers that it will count on this season, in DeJuan Bell, Landon Washington and Derius Gibson.

"He's a playmaker," Thomas said of Bell. "Get the ball in his hands. He's getting lot of interest, has several offers already. He's just exciting when he gets the ball in his hands wherever he's at."

At quarterback, Washington figures to only be better as he enters his senior year.

"He has a great arm," Thomas said. "Two years under his belt, and hopefully we're going to see good things out of him."

Gibson, who scored the winning touchdown against Strom Thurmond, ran for more than 1,600 yards last season.

"He can catch the ball out of the backfield, can do a lot of things for us," Thomas said.

The Yellow Jackets want to improve on last year's 7-5 campaign that ended in the second round of the Class AAAA playoffs.

Washington, the quarterback, thinks they have the team to do it.

"We've been working real hard over the summer with summer practice, and we've been doing really well in 7 on 7s, stuff like that," he said. "I'm excited for this season and we're looking to go deep into the playoffs this season."

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Reach John Boyette at (706) 823-3337

or john.boyette@augustachronicle.com.

 

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