AIKEN — What started as a game that looked to be a track meet turned into a defensive struggle.
Irmo’s first offensive play was an explosive run by Bryce Fashaw for 65 yards. Aiken nearly responded when Nakeem Spann went 78 yards on a kickoff return that put the Hornets on the Yellow Jackets’ 7-yard line.
It was not meant to be for the Hornets (2-3), as they were stood up at the line and had their field goal attempt blocked.
Irmo drove the length of the field on their next possession but the Hornet defense stood tall and blocked a field goal attempt of their own.
For the rest of the quarter, the teams were deadlocked.
“It seemed like we would take two steps forward and then take one step back and shoot ourselves in the foot,” Aiken coach Carey Johnson said. “We would lose yards or fumble and we just have to get more consistent.”
The Hornets’ offense struggled all night except for their touchdown drive in the second quarter. Will Heggs found Gabe Green in the end zone for a 20-yard touchdown.
Irmo responded at the end of the half, though, with Fashaw running for a 5-yard touchdown. He finished the night with 140 yards on 21 carries and two touchdowns.
Irmo quarterback Demetrius Lewis also proved to be difficult for the Hornets to slow, as he broke multiple tackles all game and repeatedly turned what should have been negative plays into big gains with his legs and shiftiness.
The third quarter wasn’t any better for the Hornets. They ran nine offensive plays on three drives and lost a yard. But their defense held Irmo (2-3) scoreless and forced them to exchange punts on all but the last drive.
“I can’t say that there was any single thing they did that gave us trouble,” Johnson said. “We didn’t execute and we were inconsistent. There would be two kids doing the right thing and one would break down and everything would become a mess. We’re going to have to sit down, evaluate the tape and see what we need to do differently.”
Aiken’s playmakers were unable to get into the open field. Despite having four rushes of more than 13 yards, Will Heggs finished with nine yards due to big sacks and losses. Nakeem Spann was also held in check, amassing 45 yards.
Green went down in the fourth quarter with what looked to be a knee injury. He did not return and was carted off the field with a huge wrap. Johnson was unable to give any details on the injury after the game.
I — Bryce Fashaw 65 run (Ben Hinson kick) 11:47
A — Will Heggs 20 pass to Gabe Green (Troy Bengue kick) 9:10
I — Fashaw 5 run (Hinson kick) 3:43
I — Hinson 12 yard field goal 10:04
RUSHING: A—Will Heggs 15-9, Nakeem Spann 12-45, Gabe Green 6-25, Markese East 6-18, D’Andre Pope 1-2; I—Bryce Fashaw 21-140, 2 TD, Demetrius Lewis 10-47, Shyheim Copland 2-1, Trey Suber 1-4, Manny Banks 1-(-4).
PASSING: A—Heggs 5-8, 28, 1 TD, 1 INT; I—Lewis 5-8, 55, Suber 1-1, 10
RECEIVING: A—Green 1-20, 1 TD, Antwan Chandler 1-6, Leon Simmons 1-5, JuWon Brown 1-2, Markese East 1-(-5); I—Shikee Brooks 2-20, Andre Jamison 2-15 Suber 1-19, Andrew Goedken 1-11