South Aiken turns back Midland Valley

South Aiken proves too much for Midland Valley in the season opener for both teams.

He's nicknamed the head hunter, but on Friday night

Rashad Hunter looked  more like the running man.

Hunter carried the ball 40 times for 259 yards and two

touchdowns to help South Aiken overcome 105 yards in

penalties and three turnovers in a  26-13 victory over

Midland Valley High School at the Stomping Grounds.

"Coach told me I was going to carry the ball a lot,"

said Hunter, who had 99 yards on 14 carries after

South Aiken's first two drives. "I certainly didn't

expect it to be that much."


No problem. Hunter, one of the premier backs in the

area, was up to the task.


He capped the Thoroughbreds' opening drive of the

season by capping a 10-play, 72-yard drive with a

6-yard rumble straight up the middle, then moved the

ball down the field on South Aiken's next drive,

setting up Brandy Franklin's 28-yard touchdown catch

that made the score 13-0 with 2:39 left in the first



"I think we were taking what they were giving us,"

Pippin said. "I don't know that I expected Rashad to

carry the ball 40 times. We can't continue to turn the

ball over, though. We were lucky that our defense shut

them down. We played almost all of the second half in

our territory."


The loss left Midland Valley coach Rick Knight feeling

like a trip back to the drawing board was both

inevitable and necessary.


"We have a lot of work to do," Knight said. "We didn't

run. We didn't block. We didn't catch the ball. We're

going to have to go back and get down to it. I found

out that maybe some people aren't ready to play."

Both Mustangs touchdowns came after South Aiken

essentially let them walk right into the endzone.

Dontrell Jones carried one in from 4 yards out to make

it 13-6 midway in the second quarter only after the

Thoroughbreds let the drive continue with a roughing

the pass on a third-and-10 and got called for a pass

interference on fourth-and-19.


South Aiken then marched the length of the field, with

Hunter carrying the ball seven times for 38 yards, and

Bush kept on around the left side for a five-yard

touchdown run with only 26.6 seconds remaining in the

first half.  A try for two failed, leaving the score



Midland Valley didn't get away without a big penalty

either. The Mustangs got turnovers on South Aiken's

next two possessions, but cost itself dearly after

seemingly holding the Thoroughbreds seconds into the

final quarter.


The Mustangs were flagged for a roughing the kicker

penalty to sustain South Aiken's drive and later

Hunter plunged in from 1-yard out to put the game out

of reach with seven minutes left in the game.

"It was my decision to rush the punter and I felt like

we should have had it blocked," Knight said.

"Unfortunately we didn't get it."


Jones concluded the scoring for Midland Valley when

South Aiken's Bernard West made an interception and

coughed up the ball after being popped on the return.

Jones scooped it up at the South Aiken 37 and went

untouched for the final score of the game. It was

West's second interception of the game. The other

ended a Midland Valley drive just outside the red zone

in the first half.


"I felt like we'd be more effective on offense,"

Knight said. "I thought we'd have some big play

potential but we didn't have any of that."

Bush had 82 yards passing but threw two inteceptions

for South Aiken.


"It was a good way to start off the season," Pippin

said. "They say your biggest jump is from the first

week to the second."


Midland Valley 0 6 0 7 — 13

South Aiken 13 6 0 7 — 26

SA — Hunter 6 run (Chad Smith kick)

SA — Brandy Franklin 28 pass from Byron Bush (kick


MV — Dontrell Jones 4 run (run failed)

SA — Bush 5 run (pass failed)

SA — Hunter 1 run (Smith kick)

MV — Jones 37 fumble return (B.J. James kick)


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