Aynor's perfect season and hopes for a state title came to a halt Thursday night.
The Blue Jackets (10-1) fell to the May River Sharks 36-22 in the second round of the 3A playoffs. Aynor outscored May River 22-7 in the second half, but the Sharks notched 29 points in the first half, capitalizing on a couple of Blue Jacket turnovers.
May River scored first on a 35-yard TD romp late in the first quarter, then struck quickly on two long touchdown passes to build toward a 22-point second quarter.
The Blue Jackets got on the board with just under six minutes left in the third quarter, mostly through grinding out yards on the ground. They took to the air early in the fourth to get near the goal line, scoring with 9:45 left in the game. That score brought new life to the team and the large home crowd.
Aynor recovered a fumble with 8:35 left but couldn’t turn the possession into points. The Sharks put up another score with 5:24 remaining to make it a 36-16 game.
But the Blue Jackets didn’t back down and found the end zone again to make it 36-22. The Sharks recovered the Aynor onside kick attempt and ran the clock out, advancing to the third round of the playoffs next week.
Following the game, the rain began to pour as did the emotions of the coaches and teams as they watched an historic season come to an end.
Coach Jason Allen told his players that he has never been prouder to be associated with a group of young men as he is with this year’s squad.
“This team is the best that’s ever put on an Aynor uniform,” he said. “You lost only one game and one of the wins was against Dillon.”
He said obviously the Blue Jackets didn’t play well the first half, making some miscues and giving up some long plays.
“May River is a very good team and they hit us hard,” Allen said. “But we showed in the second half that we could play with them. It was just too late. But I was very proud that these guys never quit, even when we were down by 29.”
Allen said as much as he and the players would like to have moved on, this year was an amazing season and one everyone in Aynor should be proud of.