The Aynor Blue Jackets are looking to replicate last year’s strong start to the season, and so far so good through the opening week.
Aynor scored on the game’s opening drive and never trailed, though it needed a late touchdown to pull away from Marion for a 16-6 win at Blue Jackets field.
“A win is a win is a win is a win at Aynor baby,” said head coach Jody Jenerette. “We went 0-20 before so we value wins around here, so I’m super pleased.”
The Blue Jackets got off to a 4-1 start in 2016 before going 1-4 through their tough Region VI-3A slate to finish 5-5, and returned 18 starters off that team.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Sun News
The Aynor defense held Marion to 142 yards of offense and held it without a first down in the fourth quarter when the Swamp Foxes were seeking the go-ahead touchdown.
“We’ve played good defense here the last two years,” Jenerette said. “Offensively it was just a comedy of errors. Bad snaps, dumb fumbles, you name it we did it tonight. We’ll see how much we’re going to improve by next week.”
Aynor drove 73 yards on the game’s opening possession to take an 8-0 lead on a 5-yard touchdown run by Noah Seaver and two-point conversion run by Ethan Martin. Seaver led all rushers with both 15 carries and 89 yards.
The Class 3A Blue Jackets converted a pair of fourth downs on the drive on a Marion offside penalty on fourth-and-4, and on a 14-yard Martin run on fourth-and-1 at the Marion 19. Marion also aided the drive with a roughing-the-passer penalty on a short gain on a third-and-9 pass in Aynor territory.
The Class 2A Swamp Foxes fumbled on their first two possessions. They dropped a handoff exchange on their 47, and Aynor’s Nick Young was in the backfield during a handoff exchange and took the ball from two players. Marion lost two of four fumbles in the first half, and one of those it retained came on third down and led to a punt.
The Blue Jackets could have opened up a larger lead were it not for two touchdowns negated by penalties in the first half. Young took his fumble to the end zone but it was negated by a block in the back, as was a 51-yard Nathan Williamson score on a screen pass.
In the third quarter, Martin cut in front of screen pass and had an open field to the end zone but dropped the ball.
Marion pulled within two points when quarterback D’vonte Allen scored on a keeper around the left end, but Aynor stopped a two-point conversion run to preserve the lead.
Aynor was driving for a potentially clinching TD when Seaver, on his fifth consecutive carry, fumbled at the Marion 12 with 4:20 to play. The Aynor defense stepped up to force losses on three consecutive plays, as Williamson and Drew Shelley shared a sack and Seaver got one of his own, and an incomplete pass on a halfback option pass on fourth down.
Martin scored on the next play on a 3-yard run to seal the win.
Marion scored on D’vonte Allen’s 5-yard keeper around right end with 3:34 remaining in the third quarter and could have tied the score with a two-point conversion, but Aynor stopped a power run up the middle just shy of the goal line to maintain the lead.
Noah Seaver, Aynor: Junior Noah Seaver had game-highs with 15 carries for 89 yards and scored Aynor’s opening touchdown. He also performed well at linebacker.
Nick Young, Aynor: The senior defensive linemen forced and recovered a fumble and teamed with sophomore Drew Shelley to stuff the Marion run, harass QB D’vonte Allen and record a few sacks and tackles for losses.
Ethan Martin, Aynor: The senior running back and defensive end was a force on both sides of the ball and scored a touchdown and two-point conversion.
By the numbers
Total fumbles by both teams. Marion lost two and Aynor lost one.
Combined penalties by the teams in a fairly sloppy game for a total of 155 yards.
The total yards gained by both offenses combined following Aynor’s opening 73-yard touchdown drive.
They said it
“The hiccup was we probably didn’t get done what we wanted to get done from an offensive perspective. We fumbled balls, had too many turnovers and had a couple critical penalties.” – Second-year Marion head coach Quin McCollum, the defensive coordinator at Carvers Bay from 2008-11.
“We played real sloppy. We’ve got to go back to practice and put in work and fix all the bugs and go to Andrew Jackson and show them what we’ve really got, other than fumbling and all that.” – Aynor running back and defensive end Ethan Martin.
“We’ll play well next week. This group is fine. I think they’re trying to do a little too much. We just need to settle in a little bit.” Aynor head coach Jody Jenerette.
Marion: At Hannah-Pamplico next Friday
Aynor: At Andrew Jackson next Friday
A—Noah Seaver 5 run (Ethan Martin rush)
M—D’vonte Allen 5 run (rush failed)
A—Martin 3 run (Martin rush)
Rushing: Marion: Kailik Faulk 11-30; Aynor: Noah Seaver 15-89, Ethan Martin 5-18.
Passing: Marion: D’vonte Allen 6-13-0–60; Aynor: Spencer Sarvis 5-12-1–29.
Receiving: Marion: Faulk 5-45; Aynor: Nathan Williamson 2-15, Seaver 2-8.