The North Augusta boys soccer team made program history, and got revenge against James Island in the South Carolina High School League 4A Lower State finals. The Yellow Jackets took down the Trojans 1-0 to earn a spot in the state championship game. The win gives the program its first-ever Lower State Championship.
James Island knocked North Augusta out of the playoffs a year ago. “You saw it got a little bit heated. I wouldn’t have expected anything less from both teams,” said head coach Michael Vaughan. “Both teams wanted to win. They’re defending state champions. I did not expect them to go down lightly. We kept our heads about as well as we could have, especially considering the moment. I couldn’t be happier.”
Ben Holton put North Augusta in front with a goal late in the first half. Goalkeeper Tyler Hughes and the Yellow Jackets defense held off a big offensive push from the Trojans over the game’s final 30 minutes.
Vaughan knew this team had the potential to be the first from North Augusta to claim a Lower State title. “I didn’t realize that until one of the dads texted me that,” Vaughan said. “North Augusta’s been here for a minute, and I thought for sure somewhere along the way that this had happened. It hasn’t. To be a part of it and to have helped bring something like this to such a good school, a classy school, I’m really proud to be part of it.”
The players showered their head coach with a celebratory water jug dump after the game.
North Augusta will play Eastside in the 4A state championship on Friday at Irmo High School in Columbia. The boys 4A title game will start 25 minutes after the girls game which begins at 5:30 p.m. Eastside is playing in their fourth-straight state championship game.