By CAM HUFFMAN Sports Editor "The monkey is off our back!" That was the message South Aiken High School head coach Robert Wrightenberry gave to his team in the midst of the beginnings of a celebration that will last well into the weekend after his Thoroughbreds defeated crosstown rival Aiken High School for the first time since 1993 42-17 Friday night at SAHS. South Aiken opened up a 14-0 lead and withstood a third-quarter surge from a determined pack of Hornets to score the win and assure itself a spot in the Class AAAA-Division II playoffs, which will begin next Friday. "I needed some Ivory soap, but that was the best bath I have ever had," said an elated Wrightenberry after taking the contents of the Gatorade bucket over his head. "I am just so proud of our kids. It was great for our team, our coaches, our school and this side of town. "I told our kids we couldn't do anything about the last 13 years. We just had to line up and play football. Except for a couple plays, we played a great game." The home team set the tone from the start, winning the coin toss and immediately driving 80 yards for the opening score. Bucky Washington's 34-yard pass to Quentin Sims in the front corner of the end zone on a third-and-eight play capped the drive, and South Aiken walked confidently off the field with momentum in its corner. Refusing to let Aiken have anything up the middle and keeping the pressure on Hornets' quarterback Marcel Harley when he dropped back to pass, the Thoroughbreds continually stopped the visitors' offense, and with just 42 seconds left before the half, Washington put his team up two scores with a quarterback keeper from the 2-yard line. A 43-yard run from Jeremy Alston helped set up the score, and after a final-second field goal off the leg of Aiken's Desmond Reardon from 32 yards away, the T-Breds took a 14-3 lead into the halftime break. "We played about as well as we could defensively in the first half," said Wrightenberry. "We were hitting hard and we were in the right spots." Aiken came out intent on sending a message in the second half, but instead it gave South Aiken another break when Hunter Scott fumbled after a big gain to give the T-Breds the ball back on the Hornet 32-yard line. Three plays later Washington hit Jamal Davis on a 28-yard slant and 'The Stomping Grounds' went wild with South Aiken ahead 21-3. Stopping a 13-year streak, however, does not come that easily. Aiken started its run on the next possession, driving 66 yards on 11 plays. Jeremy Robinson took an 11-yard sweep across the goal line for the score, and suddenly Aiken was down just two scores. The game got even tighter when Quentin Sims fumbled the kickoff return, giving Aiken the break it was looking for. Carey Johnson and the Hornet staff put the ball in Robinson's hands again, and he responded with back-to-back runs of 15 and 24 yards, the second going into the end zone. Reardon's extra point cut the lead to four points (21-17), and Aiken's fans started to be heard for the first time. It looked as though South Aiken's dream night was going to turn into a nightmare when Bucky Washington fumbled the first play of the T-Breds next drive, giving Aiken the football 32 yards away from a go-ahead score. South Aiken, though, has been about defensive football all season long, and the defense stepped up on Aiken's next drive, stopping Robinson on the same sweep he had used so effectively to send a message on the first play and then forcing Quentin Woods to fumble the pigskin to stop the drive. "We really played very well defensively," said Wrightenberry. "Getting Leander Jones back (from injury) was really big. He hadn't played since the Irmo game, and he really helped us." Aiken had another chance to take the lead later in the third, but Harley fumbled the football when he was blindsided by a South Aiken defender at the 45-yard line. After a 26-yard run by Denzell Washington put the ball on the Aiken 4-yard line on the first play of the final quarter, South Aiken's DeAnte Darden ended Aiken's threat with a touchdown run to put his team up 11. The Hornets never threatened again, and Jeremy Alston tacked on touchdown runs of 2 and 72 yards in the final minutes to put the icing on the cake and end the game with 180 yards on just 11 carries. "This doesn't quite make up for our close losses, but it sure helps," said Wrightenberry. "We have a lot of momentum going into the playoffs, and we are playing our best football right now. We are going to celebrate this one for a day and then get back to work." Score by quarters: Aiken 0 3 14 0 -- 17 S. Aiken 7 7 7 21 -- 42 INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS RUSHING South Aiken -- Bucky Washington 14-38-1TD, Jeremy Alston 11-180-2TD, Denzell Washington 10-61, Kelton Hayes 1-5, Quentin Sims 1-20, DeAnte Davis 1-1-1TD. Totals 38-305-4TD. Aiken -- Jeremy Robinson 9-70-2TD, Cortez Abney 13-72, Marcel Harley 10-40, Aubrey Johnson 5-23, Quentin Woods 5-14, Hunter Scott 2-8. Totals 44-227-2TD. PASSING South Aiken -- Bucky Washington 4-9-77-2TD. Totals 4-9-77-2TD. Aiken -- Marcel Harley 3-9-70. Totals 3-9-70. RECEIVING South Aiken -- Jamal Davis 3-43, Quentin Sims 1-34. 4-77. Aiken -- Jeremy Robinson 3-70. Totals 3-70.