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Irmo top L-E, 40-6, to win 4-4A title

Posted: November 3, 2012 11:52 a.m.
Updated: November 5, 2012 5:00 a.m.

SHON BELTON THREW for L-E’s lone points in Friday’s loss to Irmo.

IRMO -- One last chance to get a win. But unfortunately, it is also one last chance to realize it was never meant to be.
A season of struggles and disappointment ended for Lugoff-Elgin last Friday night as Irmo picked up a 40-6 victory while also notching the Region 4-4A championship with the win as the Yellow Jackets  head into the playoffs.
The loss put the lid on an 0-11 campaign for the visiting Demons.
But for L-E head football coach Scott Jones, there was a sense of relief to be over with the 2012 season. You could see it on his face and his mood as he was in high spirits after the game. The long season of trying and working to figure out how to win was finally over. But he was certainly proud of his players and how they played to finish out the year.
“I was real proud of the kids that played tonight,” he said. “We had a lot of starters out, so some young guys got in there and played. A lot of those sophomores hung in there and battled. We had our chances but that was a real good defense we played.”
The Demons had to fight out of an early hole as the Yellow Jackets started the game quick on a 90-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Bryce Fashaw for a 7-0 with 11:47 left in the first half.
The Demon offense sputtered in trying to find a rhythm, having trouble running the ball against an aggressive Irmo defensive unit.
Drives of 62, 55 and 85 yards by Irmo, including a beautiful pass from quarterback Grant Davitte to De’Ares Nelson in the corner of the end zone for one score, gave the Yellow Jackets a commanding 27-0 lead before L-E finally got something going and would get on the scoreboard late in the opening half.
The scoring drive was the only bright spot for the Demons. An 11-play, 80-yard march was capped by a 19-yard touchdown pass from Shon Belton to Eli Burroughs on a fade route down the far sideline. It came with six seconds left in the first half. The PAT kick was blocked as L-E trailed at the half, 27-6.
“I was real proud of Shon. He’s had a tough year running for his life. It was a good conversion there,” Jones said. “We called a time out and drew a play up in the dirt and it turned out to be a pretty play.”
With all the miscues by Irmo, it felt as if the Demons still had a fighting chance. But the offense could never duplicate the drive they had right before the half.
“We scored right before half and kind of felt like we had something but we never did,” Jones said. “They were just bigger and stronger than us. Their middle linebacker was so good; gosh, there is nobody at our school built like that. He is an animal. Nobody on our team that could block him. It was just a case of their being a little stronger than us.”
The Demons continued in the spread attack which led to their touchdown. But the Irmo defense made the quick adjustments and put on the bull rush, forcing Belton to make quicker decisions.
“It just didn’t work out,” Jones said. “We knew coming in that was playing into their hands. We wanted the players to have a little fun too. But that’s what happens. We couldn’t block well enough for Shon to throw or Jalen (McCaskill) to run. They have one Shrine Bowler and another one that will probably make it next year tackling out there.”
Irmo would close the game scoring with 13 second half points, including a pair of field goals from Shrine Bowl kicker Ben Hinson.
Other than the lone L-E scoring drive, the only other bright spots in this loss were the younger players doing some good things. Players like Michael Dinkins, who was forced to come in last week had yet another solid game. Jones was quick to point out the play of the sophomore’ fighting hard.
“Michael Dinkins was the player of the week last week but if I had to give it to anyone tonight it would be him because he really showed out tonight,” Jones said. “Dakota Jones played well and (freshman) Vincent Stevenson showed a spark and some life, too. He did some good things.
“All those sophomores played well tonight. We want to keep these guys in the program and continue here.”
The Demons’ seniors who contributed were either leaders for those underclassmen or injured and unable to perform. Players like McCaskill had a solid season, but Allen Jennerette battled injuries being in and out of the lineup.
“I’m proud of the seniors that stuck with the program and did this,” Jones said. “We had some clowns that disrupted some of the things we did and these guys fought through. Hopefully, we will get some more guys to try out for the program. We are looking for any males, 200 pounds or more, that want to play football.”
Jones closed his post-game and post-season interview on a positive note. This time, he provided words of encouragement for both the players and fans of L-E football.
“I told them, as men, sometimes things don’t go your way and this season obviously didn’t,” he said. “And they are going to face tougher things in life than some football games. The memories that they shared here will go for a long time. Even some of the great teams we have had here in the past, the seniors will tell you they should have worked a little harder.
“Then, I told the underclassmen that it goes by so fast and before you know it they will be seniors. Hopefully, they’ll work hard and learn the lessons of the clowns that didn’t make it through the program. Learn from the good ones that go to class and make the grades and do all the things you need to do to be successful. Hopefully, they’ll learn from those lessons that you have to work hard and prepare for the offseason.”


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