Oct. 9—AIKEN 13, MIDLAND VALLEY 12
GRANITEVILLE — Midland Valley, trailing the entire game, lined up for a 22-yard field goal with 1.5 seconds left to snatch a win away from Aiken.
The Hornets, however, had other plans.
Aiken blocked the field goal try as time expired to clinch the program's first win of the year, while keeping Midland Valley and first-year head coach Earl Chaptman from their first.
In a game that was a defensive battle, the Hornets managed to make the last play count.
The game started off slowly, with lots of punts and three-and-outs, until Aiken made the first big play of the game. Quarterback Kelby Stroman lofted a pass deep down the sideline for receiver Braylon Staley early in the second quarter. Staley made a leaping catch before making a few defenders miss en route to a 59-yard touchdown to put the Hornets up 6-0.
After that, the game settled back down as the teams traded punts and penalties. The halftime score remained 6-0, but that score wouldn't last long.
Midway through the third quarter, Aiken's offense was able to sustain a drive and move down the field. Running back Ferderian Terry took a handoff from Stroman, and ran 31 yards to the end zone to give the Hornets a two-possession lead of 13-0.
After a good return on the ensuing kickoff, Midland Valley was able to gain some momentum and power down the field before running back Joenathan Peeples trucked his way into the end zone from 4 yards out to cut the lead to 13-6.
After those scoring drives, both defenses made strong stands and snuffed out any positive yardage plays before Midland Valley's defense made a huge play.
As Stroman dropped back to pass around the Hornets' 12-yard line, the Mustangs hit his arm to force a fumble. Defensive lineman Rashad Butler grabbed the fumble out of the air and ran into the end zone for the touchdown, cutting Aiken's lead to just one point.
Rather than attempt the extra point for the tie, the Mustangs chose to go for a two-point conversion to take the lead. Aiken's goal-line defense held tough and stopped Midland Valley, keeping the Hornets' lead intact.
After a few more punts, Midland Valley got the ball back at their own 26-yard line with 3:24 to go and looking to get the win. After moving down the field and converting two fourth downs in the process, the Mustangs lined up for the field goal before Aiken got the block to end the game.
After the game, Olajuwon Paige, Aiken's head coach, said he was happy his team got the win, but he doesn't want them to rest on their laurels.
"I'm proud for my kids, but I don't want them to get overly proud and think everything is all (good) and gravy and all that type of stuff," Paige said. "I want us to stay humble, and let's keep working like we're flat broke. That's the bottom line."
Paige was extremely complementary of his defense, which held Midland Valley's offense to 6 points.
"The defense played outstanding and they've been doing that for the last three weeks," Paige said. "Like I keep saying, our offense has to sustain drives to keep our defense off the field because when our defense started getting tired in the third or fourth (quarters) from being on the field so much, that's when we're giving up unnecessary stuff."
"The win was good but I told the kids, you cannot be satisfied with that," Paige said.
For Aiken, Stroman completed seven of 10 passes for 113 yards and a touchdown. Staley caught five passes for 104 yards and a touchdown. Terry rushed 12 times for 37 yards and a touchdown.
For Midland Valley, TJ McElmurray completed 11 of 19 passes for 165 yards and an interception. Peeples rushed 13 times for 29 yards. AJ Mainer caught six passes for 104 yards.
Aiken (1-6) will have a home game against Airport next week, while Midland Valley (0-7), which has now lost 11 in a row, will travel to Blacksburg.
A 0 6 7 0 — 13
MV 0 0 6 6 — 12
A — Kelby Stroman 59 pass to Braylon Staley (kick no good) 10:34
A — Ferderian Terry 31 run (kick good) 7:09
MV — Joenathan Peebles 4 run (kick no good) 5:15
MV — Rashad Butler 12 fumble return (2-point try fail) 4:41
A — Ferderian Terry 12-37-1, Iterrius Johnson 4-(-5) Kelby Stroman 9-(-9). Totals 25-23-1.
MV — Joenathan Peebles 13-29-1, TJ McElmurray 7-17, Tyree Green 1-0, Preston McNair 8-(-3). Totals 29-43-1.
A — Kelby Stroman, 7-10-113-1-0, Ferderian Terry 1-1-9-0-0. Totals 8-11-122-1-0.
MV — TJ McElmurray 11-19-165-0-1.
A — Braylon Staley 5-104-1, Devlin Hill 2-9, Sadarius Anderson 1-9. Totals 8-122-1.
MV — AJ Mainer 6-104, Tyree Green 3-27, Torion Whiteside 2-22, Antrone Butler 1-12. Totals 11-165.