The Blue Jackets got back to pounding out yardage on the ground on Friday. In turn, the Aynor football team got back to winning.
The Blue Jackets piled up nearly 500 yards on the ground en route to a 42-16 win over Marion a week after being blown out by Dillon.
“Obviously we didn’t block well last week. We challenged our guys up front and they responded,” Aynor coach Jody Jenerette said. “I think we had close to 490 rushing yards or something like that. That’s a pretty good night for us.”
The Swamp Foxes led 8-0 after the first quarter, earning a score that was aided by an Aynor fumble.
“We played well, but we fumbled the ball early in the game,” Jenerette said. “That’s our M.O.: If we fumble the ball, we start off bad. We’ve got to hold on to the ball.”
The Blue Jackets responded with 20 points in the second quarter and 22 more in the third. Marion had one more score in the third quarter, but by then the deficit was too large.
“This team’s mentally tough. They don’t let a lot of things bother them,” Jenerette said of bouncing back from a blowout loss. “They knew there would be better days here than what we did against Dillon. I was real happy how we performed coming off that loss.
Next up for Aynor is an ailing Waccamaw squad that was blown out by Loris on Friday.
“We’ve just got to hold on to the ball and keep blocking,” Jenerette said. “That’s what it boils down to here at Aynor.”
Aynor’s DQ Nash had seven tackles, three for loss.
M - #3 52 run (#3 run)
A - Lewis Taylor 2 run (run no good), Jackson Woodle 61 pass to Kamron Johnson (pass no good), Adam Doyle 3 run (Austin Windham run good)
M - #3 11 run (#3 run)
A - Taylor 14 run (run no good), Taylor 38 run (Taylor run), Daquan Smith 1 run (Johnson run good)
The victory snapped the Tigers’ five-game losing streak and gave them their first region win of the season.
“This win is a big stress off our shoulders,” Maize said. “Coach [Chad] Eaddy said we had a big chip on our shoulder coming in this game and we went out and played like it.”
Maize finished the game with 230- all-purpose yards and saved his best for some of the biggest moments in the game.
After the Sharks cut it to 14-7 on a Jake Loud 54-yard touchdown run, Maize returned the ensuing kickoff 77 yards to put the Tigers back up 21-7 with 30 seconds left in the third quarter.
Eaddy moved Maize to the right side of the field before the kickoff and the move paid off as he scooped the short kickoff and made the first defender miss on his way to the touchdown.
“I shocked myself on that,” Maize said of the kickoff return. “When I caught the ball, I tried to go outside but there was nowhere to go so something told me to cut back and I was able to do that and score.”
In the fourth quarter St. James got within 21-14 as quarterback Josh Roper scored on 5-yard run with 6:32 left in the game. But on Wilson’s next drive, Maize broke free on a 45-yard run down to the Sharks’ 4-yard line. Then on fourth-and-goal, T.J. Frederick scored on a 1-yard run to make it 28-14.
“Ga’Quan is a great person and an amazing kid,” Eaddy said. “And the best thing about him is he knows when the big moments come and we need him. We are definitely excited to have him on our team.”