Aynor football is all but a known commodity at this point of the season, regardless of who lines up at quarterback.
On Friday, Noah Jones piloted the Blue Jackets (10-0) to an opening-round playoff victory in the Class 3A bracket, easily surpassing Georgetown 43-13. Aynor scored on its first three possessions behind its potent ground game to build enough cushion on a cold night.
“This is playoff football, this is what we’ve been working for all season long,” said Jason Allen, Aynor’s head coach. “We know that our brand of football isn’t for everybody, but we know that it works and that we will wear teams down. You don’t want to keep getting hit in the cold and that’s what we bring every down.”
The Blue Jackets pumped out over 300 rushing yards and attempted only two passes on the night, completing both for another 49 yards. For Jones, the opportunity to lead his teammates wasn’t one he particularly wanted, but his team needed him in the wake of a knee injury to starting quarterback Andrew Brown.
“This is Andrew’s position, so next week he can have it right back,” Jones said after a night where he ran for 108 yards. “I feel fortunate to have great skill position players around me and an offensive line that loves to make holes in front of me; they all made me look good tonight. Andrew is an absolute animal in this offense and we are better with him back there at quarterback, I’m just glad I was able to do well enough to get us a win as a team and we can focus on next week.”
While Brown, a 1,000-plus yard rusher on the season, was cleared to play and was dressed in full uniform on Friday, Allen and the coaching staff felt it best to give him another week to rest his knee. The injury occurred in the final week of the regular season, giving Brown about two full weeks to recover by the time Round 2 rolls around on Friday.
“We shuffled some players and were able to do what we needed to tonight,” Allen said. “We got sloppy at times and didn’t really have all of our passing plays at our disposal tonight, so we couldn’t do everything out on the edges that we normally do, but Noah and everybody on our offense did a great job of doing what we asked of them this week.”
While Jones took the snaps, Fred Pollard and Drew Shelley did a lot of work in the ground game. Pollard ran for 181 yards and two scores, while Shelley scored three times and kept the Blue Jacket defense aggressive against an improving Georgetown program.
“I’m proud of our defense for stepping up and clamping down on what Georgetown wanted to do,” Allen said. “They were able to hit on two kind of backyard plays where a ball was tipped and ended up as a positive gain, but for most of the night we were able to put them in longer downs and distances to make them have to pick up big plays. Our effort was tremendous.”
Georgetown’s season ends at 3-7, while Aynor will carry its undefeated record into Round 2 of the Class 3A bracket. The Blue Jackets will host No. 2 May River next week.
GTN – 0 7 6 0 – 13
AYN – 13 16 7 7 – 43
AYN – Drew Shelley 1-yard run (Noel McQueen kick good) 7:43
AYN – Deondre Ranson 4-yard run (two-point conversion failed) 3:52
AYN – Shelley 8-yard run (Fred Pollard run for two-point conversion) 10:19
GTN – Pep Jordan 55-yard pass to Jaden Kinard (Kick good) 2:30
AYN – Fred Pollard 1-yard run (Pollard run for two-point conversion) 1:15
GTN – Jordan 15-yard pass to LJ Creel (extra point missed) 8:37
AYN – Pollard 62-yard run (McQueen kick) 3:25
AYN – Shelley 11-yard run (McQueen kick) 8:28
GTN – Pep Jordan 13-37-275-2-2
AYN – Noah Jones 2-2-49-0-0
GTN – Malaki Johnson 11-46
AYN – Fred Pollard 19-181 2TDs
GTN – Jaden Kinard 4-159 TD
AYN – Jabbarie Green 1-41
GTN – None
AYN – Deondray Ranson, 1; Riley Phipps, 1