Dillon battled Aynor on Friday night and lost in a close game. Here is a photo gallery by Johnnie Daniels/The Dillon Herald, sponsored in part by Po Boy’s Garage and Wrecker Service.
Photos by Johnnie Daniels/The Dillon Herald
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By Lonnie Turner
An untimely penalty and a successful on-side kick lifted the Aynor Blue Jackets to a critical Region 8-3A, 38-30 win over the Dillon Wildcats Friday night at Aynor. After the lead changed three times in the first half, Aynor tied the game at 22 early in the third quarter and took the lead later in the quarter on senior quarterback Andrew Brown’s third touchdown of the game.
Not to be denied, Wildcat signal caller Jay Lester called his number on the first play of the final quarter on a fourth down and one and ran a two-point conversion to tie the game for the second time, 30-30. That one-yard touchdown run would be the last time Dillon touched the football in the final eleven minutes of the game.
The Wildcats were guilty of a personal foul at the Aynor 35-yard line on the fourth play of the ensuing drive to move the Blue Jackets to mid-field and eventually the lead for the fourth time, 38-30.
After regaining the lead, Aynor first year head coach Jason Allen called on place kicker Matthew Stanley to attempt an on-side kick, which was mis-handled at the 50 by one of the Dillon up-backs and covered by the Blue Jackets with 4 minutes remaining. Brown ran seven of the remaining eight plays and ran the clock out by taking a knee at the Wildcat 20-yard line.
Dillon scored first with Jay Lester hitting Ahmari Huggins-Bruce for a 33-yard touchdown only to have Aynor come back with a running TD and two-point conversion by Brown to lead 8-7. The Wildcats regained the lead on another play featuring Lester and Huggins-Bruce for 16 yards by a 14- 8 score during the first quarter. Halfway through the second quarter, Noah Jones scored from a yard out and Fred Pollard’s two-point conversion had the Blue Jackets on top, 16-14. The Wildcats scored on Lester and Huggins-Bruce’s third score of the half, a 13-yard pass play, with only 39 seconds to go and lead at the half, 22-16. Aynor tied the game in the third with Brown’s 2nd TD of 2 yards and took the lead with two scores in the third quarter.
Allen had his Blue Jackets playing ball control to near perfection in the upset, to notch Aynor’s first ever win over the Wildcats in 16 starts. On each offensive play, Allen had his quarterback run the clock down to only a few seconds before a delay penalty to put the ball in play to slow down the high-powered offense of the Wildcats.
After completing seven of his eight passes in the first half for 99 yards and three touchdowns, Dillon quarterback Jay Lester had his team leading, 22-16, but Aynor dominated the second half with 38 offensive plays to Dillon’s nine, including the final 22 of the game. Lester threw only one pass in the second 24 minutes and it was intercepted by defensive back Garrison Gasque on the fourth play of Wildcats’ first offensive drive. Aynor’s defense allowed only 116 yards rushing to go with Lester’s 99 passing for a net total of 215 yards.
Aynor backs rushed for 334 yards with Brown leading the way with 145 on 35 carries, including three touchdowns and three runs for 2-point conversions. Running back Fred Pollard added 98 more on just 7 carries. Senior half-back Noah Jones scored two of the Blue Jackets touchdowns on one-yard runs.
Ahmari Huggins-Bruce caught five passes from Lester for 87 yards, including the first three touchdown for Dillon and Nemo Squire rushed for only 56 yards while carrying 8 times in the game.
It was Dillon’s first region game since losing to Cheraw, 24-6, in the last game of the season game of 2008. The Wildcats lost to non-region foe Marlboro County in 2014, which was the last regular season loss.
Dillon has one more game away when they travel to Lake City Friday evening and will be at home the following week against Cheraw in the final region and regular season game of the season as post season play begins in three weeks. Aynor and Dillon could meet for a second game of the current season during the play-offs.