Neither Porter-Gaud nor Augusta Christian has a chance to be the No. 1 seed in the SCISA state AAA playoffs this year, but Thursday night’s game was pivotal for both teams as they fight for a first-round home game.

The Cyclones still have work to do during the regular season, but a 38-21 victory over the defending state champions was badly needed. Porter-Gaud improved to 3-5 overall, but more importantly 3-3 in league play, keeping home-field advantage alive.

“It’s a big win because it gets us even in SCISA and we pretty much control our own destiny now,” said Porter-Gaud coach Rick Reetz. “We have had an up-and-down season so far, but I really feel our best football is ahead of us. We are getting healthy again and our kids are still giving us a great effort. I’m real proud of the way they are hanging in there and playing hard every week.”

Sophomore quarterback Steven Duncan passed for 233 yards and two touchdowns, while senior Foster Moe caught seven passes for 96 yards and two scores. Rob Thomas added seven catches for 80 yards.

Augusta Christian’s effort was led by senior running back Thomas Banks, who rushed for more than 250 yards and a touchdown.

While the offense struggled early, the Cyclones defense put a score on the board as Hunt scooped up a fumble and returned it 54 yards for the game’s first touchdown with 3:02 left in the first quarter.

The teams traded punts and turnovers before Porter-Gaud grabbed a second touchdown, this on a 3-yard pass from Duncan to Moe with 5:24 left in the first half.

Augusta Christian took advantage of a Cyclones fumble at the Porter-Gaud 40-yard line with 25 seconds remaining in the first half.

The Lions moved downfield in three plays and scored when Hunter Beyersdoerfer hit Kobie Brinson on an 18-yard pass to trim the halftime lead to 14-7.

Any momentum gained by the Lions was quickly taken away in the third quarter. Low intercepted a pass early in the quarter and set up his own 25-yard field goal for a 17-7 lead.

After forcing a punt, Porter-Gaud needed seven plays to cover 64 yards with Kris Johnson scoring on a six-yard run with 5:21 to play.

Another big fumble return, this one by Reed Kaplan, set up the Cyclones on the Lions’ 2-yard line, and C.J. Pinckney-Stokes took it in for a 31-7 lead with 11:05 left in the game.

Banks went over the 200-yard mark with a 3-yard run, cutting the Porter-Gaud lead to 31-14 with 9:21 to play in the game.

However, Porter-Gaud quickly ended any hopes of a Lions’ comeback by taking the next possession 64 yards on nine plays, with Duncan and Moe combining on a 19-yard scoring pass with 6:17 left in the game.

Augusta Christian 0 7 0 14—21

Porter-Gaud 7 7 10 14—38

PG – Jeremy Hunt 54 fumble return (Trey Low kick)

PG – Foster Moe 3 pass from Steven Duncan (Low kick)

AC – Kobie Brinson 18 pass from Hunter Beyersdoerfer (Matt Chiera kick)

PG - Low 25 field goal

PG – Kris Johnson 6 run (Low kick)

PG – C.J. Pinckney-Stokes 2 run (Low kick)

AC – Thomas Banks 3 run (Chiera kick)

PG – Moe 19 pass from Duncan (Low kick)

AC – Brinson 17 pass from Beyersdoerfer (Chiera kick)