IRMO — The Aiken High School Hornets raced out to an early 19-0 lead on the road on Friday night and battled hard in their region game at Irmo High School, but the Hornets faltered down the stretch as the Yellow Jackets bounced back to out-score Aiken 33-14 to earn their first win of the season.

“We played hard, didn’t back down and didn’t come in here afraid,” said Aiken head coach Brian Neal. “We just have to find a way to finish ball games. Up 19, we have to find a way to put that game away. I thought it was a good effort overall. A lot of people didn’t even think we’d be in this game for very long, so I’m proud of our effort. If we can just keep that up and keep building and getting better, we’ll be all right by the end of the year.”

After starting off hot in the first half, the offense sputtered and suffered several miscues, particularly on special teams, to start the second half. Despite the miscues on offense, the Hornets’ defense was aggressive all night and practically lived in the Yellow Jackets’ back field, forcing Irmo’s Demetrius Lewis to force some throws and use his legs to extend plays. But Aiken had little answer for Shyheim Copeland who carried the ball 25 times for 165 yards and three scores.

Irmo did not gain the lead in the game until early in the second half, but Aiken refused to go away and retook the lead on the back of Nakeem Spann. Spann finished the night with 152 yards and three touchdowns off 15 carries, including a 52-yard run for a score to open the second quarter.

Down 33-27 as time clicked off the clock in the fourth quarter, the Hornets mounted a comeback spurred by Dramel Coleman who brought out a kickoff return 31 yards to the Hornets’ 41-yard line with 1:56 left. Aiken’s quarterback, Caleb Heath, led the charge by hitting two passes to move the chains and keep his team’s hopes alive before Spann picked up a first down of his own to the Irmo 31-yard line. But in the waning seconds, Heath was picked off by Rodrick Ladson at the goal line to ice the clock.

AHS 13 6 8 0 27

IHS 0 13 7 13 33

Scoring Summary

First Quarter

AHS – Nakeem Spann 33 yard TD run to left side (Jacob Norton PAT Good) 7-0 AHS

AHS – Dramel Coleman 1 yard rush for TD (J. Norton PAT Blocked) 13-0 AHS

Second Quarter

AHS – N. Spann 52 yard TD run (J. Norton PAT Blocked) 19-0 AHS

IHS – Shyheim Copeland 3 yard TD run (Trace Mills PAT Blocked) 19-6 AHS

IHS – Demetrius Lewis 30 yard TD pass to Brandy Holmes (T. Mills PAT Good) 19-13 AHS

Third Quarter

IHS – S. Copeland 6 yard TD run (T. Mills PAT Good) 20-19 IHS

AHS – N. Spann 6 yard TD run to left (Spann run 3 yards complete 2 pt. conversion) 27-20 AHS

Fourth Quarter

IHS – S. Copeland 35 yard TD run (T. Mills PAT Good) 27-27

IHS – D. Lewis 2 yard TD run (T. Mills PAT Blocked) 33-27 IHS

Individual Stats


AHS – Nakeem Spann 15-152-3TD, Dramel Coleman 13-58-1TD, Caleb Heath 12-17. Totals 40-227-4TD.

IHS – Shyheim Copeland 25-165-3TD, Demetrius Lewis 13-12-1TD. Totals 38-177-4TD.


AHS – Heath 5-13-56-0TD-1INT.

IHS – Lewis 10-16-135-1TD-0INT.


AHS – Coleman 3-30 yards.

IHS – Manny Banks 4-50 yards, De’ares Nelson 6-43, Holmes 1-30-1TD.


IHS – Rodrick Ladson 1-75.