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Demons look for better luck against ‘other’ Fort Mill entry

Posted: August 30, 2012 12:32 p.m.
Updated: August 31, 2012 5:00 a.m.

JOEY COUNTS ... L-E defensive end

Here’s hoping that things go better against the team from the other side of town.
After having opened the season with a 39-21 road loss to Fort Mill last Friday night, Lugoff-Elgin opens its home season tonight when the other school from Fort Mill, Nation Ford, comes to L-E Stadium.
A week ago, the Demons may have been a bit stage struck in playing an opponent for the first time since a 7-6 victory over Andrew Jackson in the Camden Shrine Club Football Jamboree on Aug. 10. The following week, L-E’s slated mini-game with Westwood in the MPCU Kickoff Classic was washed out by the rain and lightning.
Not having that final dress rehearsal prior to the start of the regular season did little to help Scott Jones’ youthful squad.
Now, with the first-night jitters behind them, the Demons will look to get help from more people as they try to get more players to play on just one side of the football beginning this evening.
“We had some guys who were wide-eyed, especially some young guys,” Jones said. “The biggest thing for them was the game speed. We even had a couple veterans who had the game speed being a little different for them. That always takes a little getting used to.
“We also had some guys going both ways last week and that wasn’t a good situation. We’re trying to change that this week and we’re probably platooning more than we ever have.”
When asked about the old adage which goes that a team will improve more in the days between games one and two than at any other time, Jones smiled. “We sure do need to improve because it didn’t work out too well for us last week,” he said. “Our goal is to get better each week and have a solid foundation by the time we get into region play, barring injuries.”
The injury bug started settling in the West Wateree during the pre-season as Jones and company had to start shuffling players along an already inexperienced offensive line. Included in the group of new starters was a pair of sophomores as an already green unit took on a darker hue of green.
Now that those players got their feet wet, Jones is hoping that it will help give his offense an identity, not to mention a sense of a group which has worked together as a unit.
“I feel that, knock on wood, we have some guys in place and, hopefully, they can get better and we’ll have some continuity,” he said of the offense and its front line.
“We’ve had to piece meal with some 10th graders and those guys are really doing a good job; they’re trying really hard. There’s a good and a bad with that; the good is that they are going to be around for awhile. The bad is that they are going to have to suffer through it for the time being. Hopefully, by region play, you’ve turned them into a player. That’s what we’re trying to do with them.”
Against Fort Mill, the Demons found themselves in a quick hole and were never able to threaten against the Yellow Jackets. After grading the film, Jones said several things stood out as to what his team was able to do.
In junior Shon Belton, the Demons had a quarterback who could make people miss in the open field and who threw a good ball. The downside was a new-look receiving corps which, Jones said, had too many dropped passes. Defensively, the L-E linebackers played well.
If there was one puzzling area, it was in the secondary. That group had developed well in the pre-season and in the scrimmages. On Friday, there was one breakdown which resulted in a FM touchdown pass. That, Jones said, is something he and his staff addressed in practice this week.
 “I was disappointed that we didn’t react to passes. We had been breaking up and intercepting passes up to this point,” he said of his secondary. “It was kind of like, ‘Let them catch it and then, we’ll tackle them.’ We challenged those guys, this week, to make plays in the secondary.”
The young L-E defensive backfield will get tested tonight in the form of Falcons’ junior quarterback Dalton Helms who, in a week zero 38-0 win over Forestview (N.C.) completed 21 of his 28 passes for 255 yards and three touchdowns. He also ran for a pair. Last week, Helms had another big night in a 36-32 loss to Boiling Springs with scoring tosses of 51 and 79 yards.
In Dijuan Ussery and A.K. McCoy, Helms has a pair of wide outs with top-end speed who are capable of turning any catch into six points in a wide-open, spread offensive attack.
“They throw the ball a lot,” Jones said of the Falcons. “They have two really good receivers who are faster than anybody that we have at our school and they can go up and get the ball. Their quarterback is very dangerous so, our defense is going to have a hard time.”
Jones said the Demons have been getting two different trios ready to play along the line in the team’s 3-4 front in order to put pressure on Helms, while giving the other unit a rest.
“We are trying to piece meal (the defensive line) with some guys who can give us another pass rush unit because they’re going to get tired chasing (Helms) around,” Jones said. “They throw it about 75 percent of the time. It’s going to be a big challenge for our defense.”
After having opened the season with a shutout, the Falcons’ defense showed some leaks against a Boiling Springs offense directed by junior quarterback Daniel Thompson.
“They have their issues on defense and, hopefully, we’ll be able to exploit some of those things,” Jones said.
“The truth of the matter is, everybody that we play each week is a lot bigger than we are. It’s the same way this week. Every one of their offensive lineman is close to 300 pounds and everybody on the defensive line is 250 (pounds) or better. We just have to get used to that. Our smaller defensive linemen are going to get tougher in there.”
As his team prepared for its home season debut, Jones said he has been encouraged with the way things went in leading up to tonight’s contest. He hopes that will carry over onto the field this evening.
“I thought that his week of practice has been really good,” he said. “Hopefully, we’ll get better every week.”


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