Originally created 08/25/06

Season Preview: Aiken Hornets



Head coach: Carey Johnson

Classification: SCHSL Region 4-AAAA

2005 record: 12-2

Four-year record (since 2002): 33-17

Last playoff appearance: 2005

Returning starters: 7 offense, 4 defense

Key Hornets: Senior LB/TE Derrick Glover (6-3, 190); Senior WR/DB Taikwon Paige (5-11, 170); Senior DB/RB Darien Crawford (6-1, 175); Senior OG/DE B.J. Allen (5-11, 185); Senior OT/DE Brandon Roland (6-2, 190)

Offensive attack: Aiken's "Stingbone" returns its entire offensive line. Senior center Kenny Heap (6-1, 250) is one of the few players over 200 pounds. Junior RB Romon Williams (5-7, 150) ran for 800 yards on 102 carries with eight scores last fall. He added 378 yards receiving. Both starters at receiver are back. The question is quarterback. Senior Phillip Lee (5-11, 155) and junior Marcel Harley (5-11, 175) were fighting it out. Lee is the superior passer. Harley is the better runner.

Defensive keys: The Hornets' Split-4 is steady in the middle with Glover. He knows the system and makes few bad reads. Secondary is a strength. That's where most of the returning starters are back. But thin depth means few reserves have any experience.

Thin at: Johnson says everywhere.

Big game: vs. Camden County (Ga.), Sept. 15

Different this year: The team returns its entire offensive line for the first time in about 10 years.

Could go bad if: Injuries hit the team. That would cripple the 44-man roster.

Great year if: Aiken wins the state title with consistent sound football. Anything else in Johnson's mind is just so-so.