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SCHS rebounds in style, 41-0 over Harlem

Rebounding from a less-than-stellar performance in their region opener, the SCHS Gamecocks of Ron Duncan put together a near complete-game performance in blasting the home-standing Harlem Bulldogs 41-0 in a steady drizzle on Oct. 2 during a televised contest.
Improving to 5-1 on the season and evening their 3AA record at 1-1, the Roosters will host East Laurens this Friday night in the annual Hall of Fame game.
Hometown Harlem was coming off one of its biggest football upsets ever having spoiled the Homecoming of the Swainsboro Tigers the previous week. Harlem, however, seemingly never had a chance this past week.
While the Dirty Bird defense held the Dawgs to three-and-out on their first four possessions, the Rooster offense scored on their first five possessions to go into the dressing room up 35-0.
Despite the bench being emptied and the clock on full running mode for the entire second half, Harlem never dented the scoreboard.
Was this the complete performance that every coach looks for? Not so said Duncan, “It was not a complete performance, still working to get better. As soon as we think we are complete, we will relax and lose focus.
“Still young in spots, but we did have some guys that stepped up,” said Duncan of the game that was broadcast on Augusta television station WJBF Channel 6.
Having never trailed in their stunning upset of Swainsboro, Harlem saw the Gamecocks take the opening kick and go 69 yards in nine plays to score at the 8:58 mark.
What followed was a 77-yard, 10-play drive that finished at the 2:14 mark.
From that point, the first half drives, in terms of plays, but not necessarily yardage, got considerably shorter. There were nine yards in three plays; 64 yards in three plays; and 84 yards in two plays.
The game was never competitive.
Playing at the top of its game, the Dirty Bird defense did not allow a first down until 4:58 remained in the first half.
Nine different Gamecocks carried the ball and five different players tallied TDs. Leading the way behind the offensive line of Lucas Boddiford, Derrick Arnett, Stephen Thompson, Davien Perry, Kameron Kirkland, and tight end JT Hodges was tailback Jermany Hawkins.
Showing the team’s depth at the tailback position, Hawkins accumulated 209 yards on just 15 carries and two scores. Hawkins electrified the wet crowd with an 88-yard scoring jaunt in the second quarter.
“I know everyone in our program would like to have (leading rusher) Malik (Prescott) healthy and we think he is making progress,” said Duncan. “The thing about Hawkins is that he just wants to make the team better. There have been several games where he didn’t touch the ball much and he is just as happy as ever if we win. He is very unselfish.”
Sophomore CJ Wright chipped in on the wet field with his biggest day of the season with 69 yards on nine carries recording a score and a two-point conversion.
Also scoring rushing TDs were Kim Hunter and Kashawn Robinson, while Tyquan Johnson was the recipient of a 49-yard scoring toss from Armani Bunbury. Tyler Owens added three PATs.
On the night, the first team offense committed no turnovers and only the punt return team put the ball on the ground, while the defense took advantage of its size in the middle to stuff the Harlem run game that had accumulated 299 yards on Swainsboro.
“We practice in the rain and this year seems like it has been about once a week,” added Duncan. “Tuesday was a monsoon and we didn’t have any fumbles during practice and I remember thinking it can’t be worse than this Friday. Field position, ball protection and being sure tacklers are paramount in bad weather.”
Defensively, the Dirty Birds allowed 164 total yards, 100 of them on four plays. Looked at another way, 80 of those were accumulated on Harlem’s final drive, which ended at the SCHS 10-yard line on a fumble.
Leading tacklers were Kevin Walker, who was in on 11; Richmond Whitfield (9); and Hawkins (6). The rotating group in the middle of Perry, Wright, Hodges, and Ronnie Johnson totally clogged the middle for the Gamecocks.