AIKEN - Aiken put on an impressive team display at Hagood Stadium.
The Hornets rushed for 213 yards and were outstanding on special teams and defense in posting a 14-0 win over previously unbeaten Evans Friday.
Evans coach Jim Connor felt fortunate to only lose by two touchdowns. The Knights fumbled four times offensively and lost three and were intercepted once.
"They gave us a good old-fashioned butt whipping," Connor said. "We felt good to be only down 7-0 (at halftime). They did a good job."
Derrich Tyler and Jamal Reynolds scored touchdowns for Aiken (3-1) which accumulated 246 yards of total offense.
Defensively, Aiken limited Evans to 101 yards of offense and six first downs. Through three quarters, that total was 61 yards and four first downs, two by penalties.
Evans (2-1) did not cross midfield until less than two minutes remaining in the third period and did not get into Aiken territory again until there was 55 seconds remaining in the game.
Connor was even more impressed with the Hornets defensive unit in person.
"Defensively, they were a lot better than they looked on film," Connor said.
Aiken scored on its first possession of each half. Leading 7-0, Hornet kick returner Pat Sapp returned the second half kickoff 51 yards to the Evans 44 yard line.
Eight plays later, Reynolds, playing tailback, took a quick pitch right 17 yards for a score to give Aiken an 13-0 lead with 7:40 remaining. Scott Bradford added the PAT.
Reynolds, who usually plays fullback, likes the idea of getting the ball more in the Aiken offense.
"It's nice," Reynolds said. "I need to play it more often."
Both Aiken coach Carey Johnson and Reynolds felt the Hornets could have played better. Aiken (3-1) missed two field goals and fumbled the ball into the end zone in missing scoring opportunities.
"We're still not executing," Reynolds said. "When we get it down there we've got to put it in."
Johnson praised the play of his special teams. Besides the kickoff return, the Hornets blocked a punt in the first half.
"We put a lot of emphasis on special teams," Johnson said. "We try to make special teams special. Those guys are doing a fine job."
Aiken led 7-0 at intermission thanks to a three-yard touchdown run by running back Derrich Tyler on its first possession.
The Hornets were 3-for-3 on third-down conversions on the drive. Tyler scored on a third-and-two play from the Evan three-yard line with 3:19 left in the opening period.
Evans linebacker Lavar Johnson led a Knights defense that kept the Knights in the game in the first half. Johnson had five tackles and was constantly in the Aiken backfield despite the presence of Aiken's power-I formation that featured fullbacks Jamal Reynolds and Ron Thomas.
"Defensively, we did a good job," Connor said. "It seemed like we were out there the whole game."
Hornet placekicker Scott Bradford missed two field goals, 26 and 41 yards respectively, wide right.
Evans tailback Hunter Morris made his presence felt at cornerback near the end of the first half. Morris intercepted a Brandon Dean pass to Antonio Anderson in the end zone with 41.4 seconds remaining to kill a Hornet threat.
Aiken started the drive from the Evans 11 yard line after Mario McCallister blocked Steve Epperly's kick with 1:25 remaining in the half.
Morris replaced quarterback B.J. Long in the fourth period. Long has a bruised right thigh that started giving him trouble.
Jamal Reynolds and Chris East sparked an Aiken defense that limited Evans to 42 yards of offense and two first downs in the first half.
Evans 0 0 0 0-0
Aiken 7 0 7 0-14
A: Derrich Tyler 3 run (Scott Bradford kick)
A: Jamal Reynolds 17 run (Scott Bradford kick)