Early in the second quarter of Friday night’s game at Hagood Stadium, Aiken looked like it was about to overcome a two-touchdown deficit and tie visiting Blythewood. The Hornets had just scored on Nakeem Spann’s 55-yard run off a lateral and recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff.
Following a first-down conversion and a 9-yard run by Spann, Aiken had second-and-1 from the Blythewood 4-yard line. Spann was stopped for a loss of a yard on the next play, and Markese East couldn’t gain any ground following a timeout.
On fourth-and-2, Hornets coach Carey Johnson rolled the dice and went for the first down, if not the touchdown. He came up empty on both. Will Heggs, making his first start as one of the wings in the Wing-T offense, took the handoff on a jet sweep to the left and gained 1 yard.
If the missed opportunity dampened Aiken’s spirits, the next play crushed them. Deep in its own territory, the Bengals needed one play to break open the game, as Dean Beckford took a handoff and went 96 yards untouched for a touchdown.
“We didn’t score to tie the game, and that took the wind out of our sails,” Aiken coach Carey Johnson said following his team’s 49-7 loss. “We didn’t rebound from that.”
Blythewood coach Reggie Kennedy echoed Johnson’s sentiments, saying, “That was big. It started with defense and the goal-line stand. The touchdown took the wind out of their sails. It was a critical point, and I saw the game turn from there.”
What Kennedy saw was his team close out the game scoring 35 unanswered points for its fifth consecutive victory. The Bengals (5-1) dominated both sides of the line of scrimmage. The defense prevented the Hornets from threatening to score the rest of the way thanks to a huge push up the middle that flummoxed the Wing-T. Blythewood’s offensive line opened holes and allowed eight Bengal ball carriers to combine for 274 rushing yards and five touchdowns.
“We got whipped,” Johnson said of his squad, which fell to 2-4. “We were beat in all phases of the game.”
Blythewood quarterback Kylen Binn picked apart Aiken’s defense. He led the Bengals offense, which is usually run first, to 35 first half points by putting Aiken on its heels passing. He completed 7 of 11 attempts in the first half for 77 yards and an 18-yard touchdown to Lynard Jamison. Binn completed his first six passes and showed nimble running ability. For the game, he had seven carries for 48 yards, including three touchdowns.
“We did a good job blocking for him,” Kennedy said.
Johnson saw it from another perspective.
“We weren’t filling the alleys on defense,” he said. “We played too soft.”
There wasn’t much for Aiken to feel good about in the loss. It looked disjointed at times, committing five penalties and losing two fumbles. The second fumble was recovered by Blythewood’s Dominique Lemon late in the fourth quarter, and he returned it 22 yards for a touchdown.
The loss was the second in a row for Aiken, which will play host to White Knoll in its homecoming game next week.
B–Kylen Binn 10 run (Greg Huegel kick) 9:48.
B–Binn 8 run (Huegel kick) 3:16.
A–Nakeem Spann 55 run (Troy Bengue kick) 0:24.
B–Dean Beckford 96 run (Huegel kick) 9:12.
B–Devin Albert 7 run (Huegel kick) 6:52.
B–Binn 18 pass Lynard Jamison (Huegel kick) 1:37.
B–Binn 1 run (Huegel kick) 6:15.
B–Dominique Lemon 22 fumble return (Tucker Smith kick) 3:48.