Green Sea Floyds’ 10-game winning streak that included the 2018 Class A state championship came to a halt in Aynor on Friday night.
In a showdown of undefeated Grand Strand teams ranked in their respective classifications in the state, Aynor defeated the Trojans 36-22 behind its signature option power running game, giving a crowd spilling out of the home-side bleachers reason to celebrate on the eve of the 40th annual Aynor Harvest Hoe-Down Festival.
The Blue Jackets gained 319 yards rushing on 45 carries, led by senior quarterback Andrew Brown, who gained 134 yards on 18 carries, rushed for three touchdowns and threw for another. Noah Jones added 73 yards on 10 carries.
“They were putting up 60 points and whatever last year and had a 10-game winning streak coming in. It’s a huge win,” Aynor coach Jason Allen said. “This is one of our biggest rivals. It’s been a game that both of us have had circled this year, and we love playing them.
“It was a game that I think everyone was excited about and I think it lived up to the billing.”
The Trojans (2-1) are the top-ranked team in Class A while Aynor (4-0) is ranked 10th in Class 3A. GSF’s win streak began after it started the 2018 season 3-3.
“We’re far from done,” GSF coach Donnie Kiefer said. “We’ve played two 3A schools in a row. Anyone who has been at the 1A level will tell you depth will get you. We just don’t have that much depth right now, but we’ve got a bunch of young kids developing.
“We knew coming into the game they were going to be a load. They’ve got some big boys and they do a good job with what they do with that foot-to-foot offense and pulling everybody and their brother. We knew with our smaller guys we were going to have trouble matching up.”
Aynor scored on the game’s opening possession, never trailed and led by as many as 16 points, though GSF was within eight points late in the fourth quarter.
Aynor got a good return from Anthony Eaddy on the opening kickoff to begin a possession at the GSF 48 and scored on a 10-play drive. On fourth-and-goal at the 7, Brown scrambled to his right after taking a shotgun snap and beat the defense to the right pylon. Fred Pollard converted the two-point conversion on a run.
The Trojans answered on their first drive of 59 yards. Senior quarterback Bubba Elliott rolled to his right and hit Ethan Damron cutting across the field in front of a pair of defenders for a 4-yard touchdown pass. A two-point rushing attempt failed and Aynor led 8-6.
Early in the second quarter, GSF senior linebacker Kahle Watson intercepted a Brown pass near midfield as Brown was scrambling to his right, and a 47-yard Elliott run gave the Trojans first-and-goal at the 10. A 27-yard loss on a shotgun snap over Elliott’s head left the Trojans with a fourth-and-goal at the 32, and he gained 27 yards on a scramble to turn the ball over on downs at the 5.
Aynor then drove 95 yards in just seven plays and scored on a 31-yard Brown pass to Riley Phipps down the right sideline with 1:23 to play in the first half. Drew Shelley converted the two-point conversion run to give Aynor a 16-6 lead.
GSF pulled within two points on the first possession of the second half, as Elliott scored on a 47-yard run up the middle on a quarterback draw on fourth-and-2, and hit Lucas McDowell for a two-point conversion pass.
But the Blue Jackets immediately answered with a 53-yard drive capped by a 1-yard Brown run and two-point conversion rush that followed a 19-yard Phipps reception to the 18 on fourth-and-7 and a 17-yard Jones run to the 1.
After Aynor forced a turnover on downs at its 33, it added to its lead with a 3-yard touchdown run by Ahmad Gerald on the first play of the fourth quarter that capped a six-play, 67-yard drive. A conversion run by Brown gave Aynor a 30-14 lead.
But the Trojans weren’t done. With Elliott on the sideline getting a cut finger taped on a third-and-10 at midfield, receiver Aaron Graham took the snap, rolled to his right and hit Jaquan Dixon behind the defense just before he reached the sideline for a 50-yard TD pass. Elliott’s two-point conversion run pulled GSF within eight at 30-22 with 10 minutes remaining.
Brown all but sealed the win for Aynor on the next possession, breaking a fourth-and-1 run around left tackle for a 41-yard touchdown to give the Blue Jackets a 14-point lead with about 4 minutes to play.
“Coach does a really good job of keeping us in shape and we just like to hit people, so we figure we just like wearing them down, that way they’re tired and we’re not,” said senior offensive lineman Colby Todd, who is 6-foot-4 and 325 pounds.
A Phipps interception on fourth down ended the Trojans’ hopes and winning streak.
Aynor seemingly picked up larger chunks of yardage on the ground as the game progressed.
“I told our guys we just had to try to get them to the fourth quarter and I felt like our depth would take over, and we definitely did that,” Allen said. “It’s old-school football man.”
Elliott had 134 yards rushing on 10 carries for GSF, while Dixon had 110 yards on 15 carries and the 50-yard TD reception.
The teams cruised through their opening two games of the season, as the Blue Jackets defeated Waccamaw and East Clarendon by a combined score of 91-27, and Green Sea Floyds downed West Columbus and Hannah-Pamplico by a combined score of 98-9.
The Trojans also knocked off Aynor’s fellow Region 6-3A member Loris 28-27 last week.
“Aynor got some momentum early and maintained some momentum, and our kids just kept battling back,” Kiefer said. “Our guys are resilient. They’ll bounce back. They’ll come back and play next week like champs, like they are. We’re not going to let this deter us whatsoever. . . . We just hope to be in the hunt come December.”
Green Sea Floyds 6 0 8 8 -- 22
Aynor 8 8 8 12 -- 36
A – Andrew Brown 7 run (Fred Pollard rush)
G – Ethan Damron 4 pass from Bubba Elliott (rush failed)
A – Riley Phipps 31 pass from Brown (Drew Shelley rush)
G – Elliott 47 run (Lucas McDowell pass from Elliott)
A – Brown 1 run (Brown rush)
A – Ahmad Gerald 3 run (kick blocked)
G – Jaquan Dixon 50 pass from Aaron Graham (Elliott rush)
A –Brown 41 run (rush failed)
Rushing – GSF: Elliott 10-134, Dixon 15-110; Aynor: Brown 18-134, Jones 10-73, Pollard 6-50
Passing – GSF: Elliott 1-9-1–4; Aaron Graham 1-1-0–50; Aynor: Brown 2-3-1–50
Receiving – GSF: Dixon 1-50; Aynor: Phipps 2-50