Irmo, Brand make statement with blowout win over Richland Northeast

Posted 9/30/23

The Irmo Yellow Jackets and quarterback A.J. Brand made a significant statement in their dominant 63-8 win over Richland Northeast Sept. 29.

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Irmo, Brand make statement with blowout win over Richland Northeast


The Irmo Yellow Jackets and quarterback A.J. Brand made a significant statement in their dominant 63-8 win over Richland Northeast Sept. 29.

Going into the game, Richland Northeast quarterback and North Carolina State commit Will Wilson was considered the number one quarterback in the state of South Carolina in the class of 2025 according to popular recruiting websites like 247 Sports and On3. Brand made sure his name would be mentioned in that same breath after the win.

“A.J. and Will are good friends, first of all, but we wanted to show who the best quarterback in the Midlands was and I think we showed it,” Irmo head coach and A.J.’s father Aaron Brand said. “I think he’s got some help around him, but the way he distributes the ball and the way he never turns the ball over has been the key to our success the last 15 games. He just takes care of the ball and does what he’s supposed to do in that aspect and he’s just on a roll right now. He’s hotter than fish grease so I hope he can continue. He’s the catalyst that makes us go.”

“Hotter than fish grease” might actually be an understatement the way Brand played. He completed ten of his 14 pass attempts for 222 yards and two touchdown passes while also running for 72 yards and two touchdowns on only six rushes.

Brand has punished teams on the ground and through the air all season long but in the battle against one of the state’s best quarterbacks, he displayed why he does the dual threat game as well as anyone. As someone who has spent his coaching career molding many great quarterbacks, the elder Brand sees a lot of those same traits in his son.

“He’s just got an idea of what’s going on at all times,” Brand said. “His perception of getting us into the next play and keeping us in a positive situation is key. I’ve had some good quarterbacks from the Chris Leak’s to the Joe Cox’s to all these guys. We’ve had some good ones but this guy is putting himself right amongst the elite.”

Brand accounted for four touchdowns, all but one in the first half, as he ran for a 32-yard and a 14-yard score. His two passing scores came from a 48-yarder to sophomore phenom Donovan Murph and a late 21-yarder to Caleb Alexander. The offense also got another monster performance from running back Jaden Allen-Hendrix, who rushed for four touchdowns.

According to A.J. Brand, being able to masterfully deliver the ball to his team’s playmakers is easier because of the offense’s attitude. 

“Our receivers are great,” Brand said. “My favorite thing about our receivers, you know, is no one complains when somebody’s not getting the ball. If somebody’s not getting the ball, our teammates still pick them up. If somebody’s getting the ball more than somebody else, they’re still cheering them on. I just love having a receiver group like that. It definitely helps me as a player mentally and on the field.” 

While Brand took care of business on his side of the QB battle, the defense held Wilson to some humbling numbers. Wilson completed only nine of his 20 passes for 111 yards and an interception while rushing for only 19 yards on six attempts with one touchdown. 

The Irmo defense swarmed Wilson all night and forced him into rushed throws and non-advantageous situations. Coach Brand credits the defensive coaching staff for getting them motivated and prepared to play in big match-ups like this. 

“They are biting, man, and a defense that bites like this, it spells championship run,” coach Brand said. “It doesn’t spell championship but it spells a run. We got some potential and we got a chance to take this thing a little further than a lot of people expected at the beginning of the year. But we knew where we’d be.”

Scored from around Lexington County

White Knoll 40 River Bluff 0

Lexington 22 Chapin 14

Airport 14 Aiken 12

Brookland-Cayce 56 Orangeburg-Wilkinson 13

Gilbert 35 Lower Richland 7

Dreher 51 Swansea 7

Gray Collegiate 56 Portal (Ga.) 35

Saluda 42 Pelion 13

Strom Thurmond 44 Batesburg-Leesville 14

Irmo football, Aaron Brand, Will Wilson, A.J. Brand, Richland Northeast, Jaden Allen-Hendrix, Donovan Murph, Caleb Alexander


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