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Border Bowl III well represented by Screven County

The Georgia high school seniors took control of the second half of Border Bowl III to defeat South Carolina 35-21 in Augusta on Jan. 9.
And Screven County played a vital role on the field and as motivators for the crowd on a soggy, cold afternoon at Lucy C. Laney Stadium.
Screven County Gamecock Jermany Hawkins, who recently was named First Team Associated Press All-State to go along with First Team Atlanta Journal Constitution, finished the game with a combined 10 solo and assisted tackles from his linebacker position. Hawkins also recovered a fumble.
SCHS also had four senior cheerleaders cheering on Hawkins and his teammates who, like the Georgia and South Carolina cheer squads, came from area schools in the CSRA.
Sarah Collins, Allison Flanders, Gillian McGalliard and Madison Mitchell from a SCHS cheer squad that finished third in Class AA at state were among the 17-member Team Georgia group.
Fellow SCHS senior Brianna Lucas also was afforded the chance to be one of the cheerleaders, but the Lady Gamecocks’ starting point guard had basketball practice when the cheer squad practiced and a Saturday home game on the day of the Border Bowl which benefits the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Augusta.
The game was sponsored by the Augusta Chronicle and WJBF Channel 6 who broadcasted the contest live and also tape-delayed the next day.
“Jermany made a bunch of big plays and was in on several tackles,” said Screven County head coach Ron Duncan who was joined on the Georgia sideline by fellow SCHS coaches Doug Dirst and Chris Pye. “I was proud of his attitude and effort throughout the week and the game. Screven County could not have been represented any better.”
Hawkins and the SCHS cheerleaders had to make multiple trips to Augusta for team practices.
Aquinas quarterback Liam Welch had 211 passing yards and four touchdowns to be chosen the offensive player of the game in the “Battle for the Paddle.”
Thomson’s Billy Mance rushed for 127 yards, including a 49-yard sprint on the go-ahead score inside four minutes left in the contest. Mance’s TD broke a tie at 21.
Nick Moss, a Thomson defensive end and son of former University of Georgia defensive back Gary Moss, was named the defensive player of the game.
But Hawkins certainly was in contention for the overall defensive standout honor.
That in part may have been because he continued his pregame ritual of eating some of the football field grass. Hawkins said he has done this for two years now and it helps him feel like he is more connected with the game.
While Hawkins said all the players did well, he did admit that if he had scooped and scored his fumble recovery he probably would have been selected as the defensive player of the game.
Smiling, Hawkins said he heard a whistle so he fell on the loose ball instead of picking it up and running the 28 yards for the score.
“I was given the chance to start and I was glad,” Hawkins said, “but it was for charity and that is the important thing. Everybody else got their reps.”
Hawkins said Georgia’s head coach Lem Lackey of Evans High School and formerly of Laney said this was one of the best groups he has ever coached.
The Georgia team included some of SCHS’s current and former region opponents.
Hawkins said he and the Jefferson County players talked about their battles on the gridiron.
“It was like a reunion,” he said. “It was fun to represent the state of Georgia and Screven County. I think I did a good job representing.
“It was a really good experience playing with people you had never met before,” said Hawkins, who has Georgia Southern at the top of his college choice to continue his playing days, but he also is looking at Chattanooga and Marshall.
McGalliard said she and the other SCHS cheerleaders enjoyed their time with the Border Bowl and she will recommend it to the squad’s underclassmen for when they become seniors.
“I think we represented our school well,” McGalliard said. “We had people tell us they saw good leaders in Screven County and that we had been taught well in Screven County.”
The Team Georgia cheerleaders had 10 practices in a month to prepare for the game. Each cheerleader was required to send in a video to show their ability to tumble and perform stunts.
McGalliard said they made new friends who they will keep in contact with through the end of the school year and into college.
The SCHS cheerleaders are under the director of Mary Helen Harrison and Vette Rountree. For the Border Bowl game, their coaches were head coach Cynthia Blair of Lakeside and assistant coach Tomika Briscoe of Laney.