For the Aynor Blue Jackets, each week brings a chance to make history.
Last week they knocked off perennial powerhouse Dillon. On Friday, they defeated Loris 30-24 to clinch the school’s first region title since 1989.
“Thirty years, man,” coach Jason Allen said. “It’s humbling that God is this good.”
The latest chapter in the Blue Jackets’ historic season seemed in jeopardy Friday as Loris pushed them to the brink.
After touchdowns from Fred Pollard and Andrew Brown gave Aynor a 16-0 lead, Loris responded, scoring just before halftime and tying the game early in the third quarter.
The Lions then took a 24-16 lead on a Chris Gilchrist touchdown with 3:15 to go in the third quarter.
In a game where Aynor uncharacteristically struggled with penalties and turnovers, Allen had to remind his players that the Dillon victory could wind up being hollow.
“Last week felt like we had done something,” he said. “If you lose every game from here on out, you don’t get anything. They don’t give you one single piece of hardware. Tonight was the championship game.”
Aynor tied the game on a Riley Phipps touchdown with just under eight minutes to play in the game. They took the lead on a Noah Jones TD with 3:10 left, but the two-point conversion attempt failed, giving Loris (1-8, 0-4 region) a final opportunity to win.
But the Blue Jackets’ defense held, preserving the victory and the region title.
“They kept fighting,” Allen said. “I told them, ‘That’s what our culture is now.’ It’s a tremendous achievement.”
Aynor finished the game with 331 yards rushing on 59 plays. They also passed for 47 passing yards.
Next week, the Blue Jackets (8-0, 4-0 region) head to Lake City where they can add another milestone to their incredible season.
“In the history of Aynor football, we’ve never been undefeated in the regular season,” Allen said. “We have to a chance to go down there and accomplish something that’s never been done.”