BLYTHEWOOD — Aiken High School (1-5) traveled to the Columbia area for the second week in a row, and similar to last week, the Hornets were unable to come away with the win. Turnovers hurt their chances of coming home with a needed victory. The Hornets out-gained the Bengals of Blythewood High School (4-2) 360-247 on offense, but five turnovers ultimately caused Aiken to fall 34-20.
“Our offense can’t lay the ball on the ground as much as we did in the first half and expect to compete,” stated Aiken’s first-year head coach Brian Neal. “(Despite the turnovers) I thought we did compete as we were still hanging around for much of the game. Despite all the woes on offense, our defense played a heck of a game. Their backs were back against the wall all night long and our guys went out and forced them back and held them to field goals and turnovers on downs.”
Unlike last week when Aiken scored the first 19 points of against Irmo, Aiken found itself down 31-12 at the intermission. That’s because it put the ball on the ground five times, four of which were recovered by Blythewood. The Hornets did mount a late drive to end the first half, but were unable to manage the clock and came up short of cutting the deficit as Caleb Heath’s final pass to the end zone sailed over his intended receiver’s head.
With several offensive starters sidelined with injuries during the game, including go-to rusher Nakeem Spann, other players were called on to make plays. Dramel Coleman was effective on both sides of the ball for the Hornets, totaling 109 offensive yards to go along with four tackles and an interception he returned 44 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter.
Aiken won the second half, out-scoring Blythewood 8-3, as Aiken’s defense played with a purpose, living in the Bengal’s back field and holding them to 78 total yards for the half.
Jalen Williams, who verbally committed to Clemson University earlier in the day, recovered three of the Hornets’ fumbles and made six tackles. He also returned an interception 40 yards to put the Bengals within the red zone; an opportunity they ultimately squandered.
Greg Huegel, Blythewood’s place kicker, set the school record for longest field goal as he knocked through a 51-yarder in the first half after missing two from inside 40 yards in the first quarter. He didn’t have a single kickoff returned during the game.
Aiken will open their Region 5-AAAA schedule at White Knoll next Friday.
AHS 6 6 0 8 – 20
BHS 21 10 0 3 – 34
BHS–David Israel 49 pass to Lynard Jamison (Greg Huegel kick good).