AUGUSTA — What looked like a one-sided game for Augusta, turned into a 21-6 deficit by Winfield but eventually ended into a game-winning finish by the Orioles.
Augusta survived a comeback play, defeating the Vikings 41-35 on Saturday, earning its second win on the season.
"We made huge plays tonight. You go from being from really good to really bad really fast and it was just a lot of swings of momentum," Augusta Head coach Jason Filbeck said after the game. "I told our kids that the resilience that we showed was the best thing about it."
From the start of the game, special teams play played a role in Friday’s shootout. On the opening kickoff, Tyler McConathy took one to the house for 90 yards, which set the tone for the Orioles. For the Vikings, it was the second week in a row that they gave up an opening kickoff touchdown.
"Special teams is a big deal for us," Filbeck said. "Honestly, special teams won us a lot this game other than, we missing an extra point at the end of the game. Gave them a shot to tie it."
Both teams put up a total of 741 yards on offense, but most were on the ground. In the first half, Augusta struggled to contain Winfield’s power back, Ar’mon Acosta, who finished the night with 230 yards on 24 carries, and a touchdown.
"Credit to the Winfield kids for sticking with it," Filbeck said. "Their quarterback and runningback are really good, and they leaned on them and they were back in it. I told my kids that I will be okay with a blowout every now and then. Win an easy game and I can relax. But high school football is exciting too, so I’m okay with being excited."
Augusta also focused on pounding the rock by Ryan Andrews. Andrews finished the night with 146 yards on 16 carries.
Despite focusing on the run play, Winfield still struggled to put points on the board as they trailed 28-12 at halftime. In the second half, quarterbacks Jett Hand of Augusta and Riley Yingling of Winfield duked it out in a back and forth battle.
As Winfield lured away Acosta’s carries after being injured late in the third quarter, it Yingling who stepped up to the plate as he rushed for four touchdowns. One of it tied the game at 35 with 1:49 left in the fourth quarter immediately after a disastrous fumble on punt at Augusta’s three-yard line.
Hand orchestrated 80 yards of offense with a minute left. Andrews made a 19-yard run while being gang tackled by Winfield defenders. With 17 seconds left, Hand made a check down call and found Andrews on a vertical route for an 8-yard touchdown to recapture the lead and the win for the Orioles.
"He stepped up big," Filbeck said. "He ran the ball really well too. He got a little bit of moxie into him. Slings the ball around a little bit, and we have to throw it at the end a little bit. I called a different play and he checked Ryan and told him to go vertical, he’ll be open. He wasn’t supposed to hit Ryan first on that. He just saw it and hey, do it. So Ryan did it, made a quick hot throw and scored a game-winner for us."
Hand finished the night completing seven of his 11 passes. Three of them resulted in touchdowns from Andrews, Ely Wilcox and Sebastian Flowers. Holt Williams also picked up a short-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter.
Augusta improves to 2-4 on the season, and will now focus on Abilene next week Friday at 7 p.m.