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Gamecocks face AAA Patriots Friday in Augusta

Having a week to work on fundamentals after their resounding rout of St. John’s in their opening contest, the SCHS Gamecocks of Ron Duncan travel to Augusta this Friday, Sept. 4, to face host Westside at The Battlefield.
The 3AAA Patriots enter the contest at 1-1 and are coming off a 27-20 win over 2AAAAA Richmond Academy last week.
“Last week we went Monday-Wednesday,” said Duncan. “It was as good an off week as I can remember. I think we made real progress in all areas. We gave the kids Thursday off because of the JV game and the coaches went out scouting Friday.”
Westside opened its season as it did a year ago with a one-sided loss to another member of 2AAAAA, the Evans Knights. Two weeks ago the count was 49-7.
But last week the Pats survived their cross-town ARC rivals 27-20. After taking a 20-6 lead into the dressing room, Westside saw the Musketeers dominate the second half except for turnovers.
With the game knotted at 20-20 late in the third quarter, ARC fumbled at their own five allowing the winning score.
Behind a mammoth offensive line, Westside lines up in a number of formations including a spread, numerous various I’s, a pro, and a wishbone.
Whatever the formation, the go-to backs are the same as a season ago -- tailback Josh Reynolds and fullback Aaron Commings. A year ago Reynolds carried 17 times for 142 yards in the 28-12 SCHS win.
“They are really big and they move well,” said Duncan. “It is going to be a big challenge for us. 25 (Reynolds) is a good player so is 14 (Commings). If we do not play our best, they can hurt us.”
In the Westside victory on Aug. 28, Reynolds carried 23 times for 99 yards, while Commings was 14 carries for 88.
Dangerous in more than one way, Reynolds also captured five passes for 51 yards and was very effective receiving the screen pass. Quarterback Matt Pearler was 7-for-15 for 86 yards.
Defensively, the Patriots showed a number of fronts including a five with frequent pressure from the linebackers.
“Offensively, we have to do what we do,” explained Duncan. “We have to take what they give us. It looks like they play man and pack the box, even against spread teams.”
This will mark the 13th meeting between the two teams dating back to 1974. SCHS leads the series 7-5, but has won six of the last seven since 1994.
The lone loss in the last two decades came two years ago when a horribly flat Gamecock team fell 23-6.