Aynor lost just about all of its offensive production through graduation and the loss to injury of two-year starting quarterback Nathan Peeples in the preseason.
You wouldn’t know it by the Blue Jackets’ performance in their season opener Friday night against perennial Class A power Lake View.
Aynor rushed for 327 yards and controlled the ball and clock with 52 rushing attempts to defeat the Wild Gators 28-6.
The win progresses Aynor’s momentum from an 8-4 record last year and Class AA playoff victory for the second consecutive year.
“These kids have won two straight playoff games,” Aynor coach Jody Jenerette said. “They’re positive guys and understand kind of what we’re doing in our program right now. We’ve got a lot of kids that love football. We don’t have great players per se, but we’ve got a lot of kids that love football.”
Lake View, which narrowly lost to Cross in the Class A Lower State championship game last season, was held to 55 yards rushing on 27 carries and 157 yards of total offense.
Aynor ran a tight shotgun-formation offense with multiple players taking snaps in either fullback or quarterback positions. Four players gained at least 60 yards, led by Kamron Johnson’s 104 yards on seven carries and Louis Taylor’s 95 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries. Daquan Smith and Adam Doyle also had touchdown runs in their 60-plus yards.
“We had Nathan Peeples. He got hurt, and we had to kind of coach a little bit,” Jenerette said. “It feels good getting everybody touches and getting everybody involved, and just getting a win for our kids.”
As it did most of 2012, Aynor played turnover-free ball and forced Lake View into four turnovers.
“We just went out there with our heads clear and played hard,” Taylor said. “[We try to] keep the ball to ourselves and don’t put it on the dirt. We mostly focus on ball security and stripping it and all that.”
Aynor systematically marched 65 yards on the game’s opening possession to take an 8-0 lead. It rushed the ball eight consecutive plays and Doyle capped the drive with a 4-yard touchdown run and two-point conversion run.
It took Lake View just 1:40 to answer. Weston Rogers found Reco Brown alone 10 yards down the field on the 1eft sideline, and faced with no defenders when he turned downfield, Brown raced down the sideline to the end zone.
An interception by Johnson and 35-yard return to the Wild Gators’ 30 set up Aynor’s second score. On the next play, Jackson Woodle hit tight end DQ Nash cutting to the right sideline for a 26-yard gain, and Taylor subsequently scored on a 4-yard run around right end.
Aynor added to its lead 3:30 later when Smith broke through the left side of the line and broke a tackle en route to a 40-yard touchdown run, and Johnson converted a two-point run. The score followed a fumbled snap and turnover by Lake View on a fourth-and-2 at the Aynor 42.
With a chance to pull within a score, Lake View reached the Aynor 16 midway through the third quarter following a 16-yard pass interference call, but Rogers fumbled the ensuing snap and defensive lineman T.J. Fox recovered for Aynor.
Taylor’s second touchdown on a 3-yard run increased Aynor’s lead to 28-6 with 9 minutes remaining and was set up by a 62-yard run by Johnson.
The Wild Gators were stuffed up front, as 13 of their rushing attempts were for 1 yard or less, and Aynor’s Taylor, Nash and Landon Flowers were among those with tackles for losses.
A–Adam Doyle 4 run (Doyle rush)
LV–Reco Brown 62 pass from Weston Rogers (rush failed)
A–Louis Taylor 4 run (rush failed)
A–Daquan Smith 40 run (Kamron Johnson rush)
A–Taylor 3 run (pass failed)