Daryl Hillary, Strom Thurmond, senior, running back
Morgan Cooke, Aiken, senior, kicker
Cooke stepped up in Aiken's overtime contest against Airport with the chance to claim the region title with his leg. The senior's 20-yard boot sailed through and the Hornets celebrated a 10-7 Region 3-AAAA championship clinching victory over the Eagles.
Hillary watched his cousin Antwaun go down in the first quarter of the Rebels' Class AAA first-round game against Burke (Charleston) with an ankle injury. Thurmond, which runs mostly out of the shot-gun formation, had to turn to the ground and Daryl answered the call, chalking up 206 yards on 19 carries to lead the 34-6 rout of the Bulldogs. Hillary broke loose for a 92-yard scoring run for Thurmond which piled up 340 yards on the ground.
Hillary, a three-year starter, is second in rushing to Antwaun for the Rebels with 735 yards. Daryl may be ticketed to produce numbers similar to what he had last week when Thurmond travels to Dillon on Friday for second-round action. Antwaun is scheduled to play, but is still recovering.
Cooke has hit 5-7 field goals this season with his longest being 36 yards. The senior is 33-for-36 on PAT kicks and is second on the Hornets squad in scoring with 48 points. The Hornets play host to James Island on Friday in a Class AAA, Division II, first-round game.
Aiken coach Carey Johnson on Cooke:
"We're maybe one of the few teams that actually go out and hunt for kickers. Morgan came to us from the soccer field and has become a huge part of this team."
Thurmond coach Brian Smith on Hillary:
"He's big time when it comes to this offense. He works hard and he's dependable -- that's his biggest attribute."