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
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
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)