AIKEN - When Aiken coach Carey Johnson wants to yell at his starting quarterback, he doesn't have to go far.
"He's right down the hall," said Hornets quarterback Josh Lewis, who happens to be Johnson's stepson.
Lewis probably didn't have to worry about being awakened to talk football late Friday night. He completed just two passes, but both were important in Aiken's 37-8 thrashing of Orangeburg-Wilkinson.
After throwing two incompletions and an interception in his first three attempts, the senior found Aquinus Williams behind the Bruins' defense for a 48-yard completion. It set up an 8-yard scoring run by Lewis that gave Aiken a comfortable 19-0 lead with 1:38 left in the first half.
"(Johnson) just told me to keep my head in the game, take control of the team and don't make mistakes," said Lewis, who rushed for 33 yards on eight carries.
After an Orangeburg-Wilkinson interception gave the Hornets (4-3, 1-1 3-AAAA) a chance to do more damage with 11 seconds left in the half, Lewis hit Larry Anderson in the front left corner of the end zone for a 27-yard strike that created a 25-0 halftime bulge.
"We tried to hit (Anderson) long on the fade," said Johnson, whose team has won four of its past five games after starting the season 0-2. "It was a big play before the half for us."
Lewis is just glad to be playing offense. He began the season as the starting signal-caller but was moved to defense after Whit Corley was handed the starter's reins in early September.
Corley was injured two weeks ago, and Lewis moved back to quarterback. Lewis looked content Friday directing an offense that rolled up 296 total yards despite committing three turnovers.
Aiken was paced by its defense, which gave up few big plays from a fast and potent offense. The Hornets kept the Bruins' speedy receivers in front of them and tackled well. Orangeburg-Wilkinson's lone touchdown came on a late kickoff return.
"We did a real good job of shutting down their running game, and I was real happy with the way we played the passing game," said Johnson, whose team has won eight of its past 11 games against the Bruins. "The defense did a fine job."
Both teams were sloppy in the first half, but the Bruins (2-5, 0-3) happened to be sloppier. The Hornets turned all four Bruins turnovers - three interceptions, one fumble - into touchdowns, including a 50-yard interception return by Ombreyan Broadwater that set the rout in motion.
Broadwater picked off another pass late in the first half, this one thrown by quarterback Tony Moorer, to set up a 73-yard drive that was highlighted by Lewis' 48-yard toss to Williams.
"We've got a lot of work to do," Johnson said. "We're close to becoming a good football team."
Reach Larry Williams at (706) 823-3645 or firstname.lastname@example.org