High School Sports

Thoroughbreds trample Susi's debut with Jackets

FORT MILL -- Instead of the typical jock rock song that teams generally enter the stadium to, U2's love ballad "One Love" blared over the public address system at Fort Mill's Bob Jones Stadium. Not exactly the kind of tune to pump up a crowd, the mistake in the press box was just the first in the comedy of errors in Fort Mill's 13-3 season opening loss to South Aiken.

The game marked the beginning of the Ed Susi Era at Fort Mill. Susi replaces Rusty Jester, who moved across town to the new Nation Ford after one season.

The Yellow Jackets fumbled nine times, losing four, had eight penalties for 80 yards, an interception, and a roughing the kicker penalty that gave the Thoroughbreds a first down on a fourth-and-33 as South Aiken beat an area team for the second straight week.

To Fort Mill's credit, the Jackets hung in the game and even had a chance to tie it up in the final period.

However, South Aiken controlled the clock, running out the last 3:05, and limiting Fort Mill's offense to just seven fourth-quarter plays.

The Yellow Jackets had many missed opportunities early. Three of the first four Fort Mill offensive possessions started in South Aiken territory.

After receiving the opening kickoff, Fort Mill was forced to punt after three plays, but turned the field when South Aiken mishandled the snap. The Fort Mill defense returned the favor, forcing a Thoroughbred punt, and Jarrod Shaw returned the kick 24 yards to put the Jackets in position to score.

The teams traded punts, as Fort Mill inched closer to scoring. The Yellow Jackets got as close as the 18-yard line late in the first, but a fourth-down pass by quarterback Danny Till fell incomplete. Till was making his first start, replacing injured starter Bryan White.

South Aiken gained the upper hand when Bucky Washington punched the ball in from 5 yards out with 3:25 remaining in the first half.

After the ensuing kickoff, Fort mill fumbled the ball back to the Thoroughbreds on an errant pitch on the first play of the drive. Facing a first-and-10 from their own 11, the Jackets' defense held South Aiken to a field goal, but the two-score lead proved to be more than enough for the win.

Fort Mill finally got on the board in the third period after Shaw came up with a fumble recovery and returned it 18 yards to set up the Jackets' offense at the South Aiken 15-yard line.

Fort Mill obtained a first-and-goal at the 5, but three plays netted a loss of 5, and Chris Larson was forced to kick the field goal.

South Aiken iced the game with Josh Newton's second field goal of the night with 9:46 remaining.

"I do not know what to say about the turnovers," said Susi. "Our kids played very hard, but you cannot make the mistakes we made tonight and expect to win.

"We'll be back in here Saturday morning at 8 a.m., and try to correct our errors before next week's game."

South Aiken 0 10 0 3 -- 13

Fort Mill 0 0 3 0 -- 3

TEAM STATISTICS

SAHS FMHS

First downs 6 6

Rushes-yards 44-99 33-57

Comp-Att-Int 2-3-0 5-10-1

Passing yards 16 33

Fumbles-lost 5-2 9-4

Penalties-yards 5-55 8-80

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