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WF rebounds in second half to top L-E, 31-14

Posted: September 14, 2013 1:04 p.m.
Updated: September 16, 2013 5:00 a.m.

A tale of two halves.
That phrase, or cliché, can sometimes be overly used when talking about the game of football. But this time, however, it was never truer on Friday night when Lugoff-Elgin played host to West Florence.
Going for their first win in 20 games, the host Demons took a 14-10 halftime lead before the Knights scored 21 unanswered points in the second half to get the eventual win, 31-14.
It was a loss that was simply hard to put into words for L-E head coach Scott Jones.
“It’s the tale of what’s going on,” he said. “We can’t seem to make plays when they need to be made on offense or defense. Guys are trying hard but it’s just not happening.”
Backed by a good crowd at Lugoff-Elgin Stadium, the hosts came out with plenty of fight and enthusiasm. The Demon defense showed some of that early in the game on the first drive by West Florence.
After a big return into opposing territory to start the contest, the Knights only managed 14 yards before the drive stalled into an Alex Spence 40-yard field goal to give the guests a 3-0 lead with 9:31 left in the first quarter.
L-E came right back with a deep kick return and a score of its own as Kevin Fields returned the ensuing kick to Knights’ 40 yard line. Seven plays later, senior quarterback Shon Belton punched it in from a yard out, going over the middle, to put the Demons ahead. Andrew Place made the extra point and it became 7-3 just minutes into the opening period.
Jones has the utmost respect and gratitude for his leader and signal caller but knows that the opposition shows that same respect when on the field.
“Number 2 is a man,” he said of Belton. “I guess if you are the coaches over at West Florence, it became easy to figure out that where ever 2 goes, 11 people should follow him. That’s unfortunate; He didn’t have folks that could do some things and help him out a little bit … but we have a young group.”
In a first half that went back and forth, WF would respond with a strong nine-play march, taking it 77 yards for a score. On this drive, the Knights displayed a no-huddle, read option offense. It was a three-headed rushing attack that started with quarterback Marquane Goodman, who led his running backs Dexter Fulmore and Eron Darby through the trenches. A five-yard run by Fulmore put the Knights back on top, 10-7, with 3:08 left to go in the quarter.
After several punts and a missed 37-yard Spence field goal try, the Demons executed, maybe, their best drive of the season.
L-E converted on a pair of third downs, including a 20-yard reception by tight end Elliott Campbell. The freshman, who caught his first varsity touchdown last week, came up with three catches on Friday. Belton and the Demon offense used a mix of the Wing-T and the spread to go 80 yards in 12 plays, taking more than five minutes off the clock. Belton capped the drive with a two-yard run over the right side to help L-E retake the lead at 14-10 with just a minute left before intermission.
In the first 24 minutes, the Demons not only had their first lead of the season, but also did not commit a turnover or, costly penalties. Then came the second half.
On the opening possession of the half, the Demons looked like they were going to put together another nice drive until a fumble near midfield gave the ball to the visitors. It did not take long for the Knights to take advantage. A two-yard run by Darby finished a seven-play 50 yard march which took just two minutes to complete as WF took back the lead at 17-14 and never looked back.
A quick three-and-out led to another score for the Knights as Goodman hooked up with a wide-open Dustin Lee in the end zone off a slant. The drive was helped by Goodman who had a big run on the drive; the first time he had gotten loose all game. That made the score 24-14 with 5:22 left in the third.
Later, Jones voiced his frustration when talking about the second half. The read option offense was getting in a rhythm now and West Florence seemed they were going downhill.
“We couldn’t stop them or trip them up or anything,” he said. “We’re not good tacklers right now. And, it’s not that we don’t work on it, we just aren’t very strong at it. It looks like we have jayvee football players out there at times, and we do, actually.”
There was still plenty of time for the Demons, but something just changed in this half. They never had the momentum and seemed to play different altogether.
After yet another stalled drive and a short punt, WF put the game away on the final scoring drive of the game. The guests went going 62 yards with Goodman running it in off the left side from four yards out for a 31-14 lead with 41 seconds left in the third quarter.
“We couldn’t handle success, up 14-10,” Jones said of his team’s second half struggles. “We fumble the ball and just kind of fell apart. I don’t know if they got tired or what.
“(WF) just came out in that half and really took it to us. We didn’t have any answers for it and just did not look very good there.”
L-E managed to force a pair of turnovers, but even those did not matter as the Demon offense became stagnant and was unable to get anything going in the second half.
It was hard to explain, but Jones did his best when talking to his players after the game.
 “I told them that I loved them. And they have come to work every day,” he said of his post-game talk. “The good Lord put you out there and we go through these tough times for a reason. It’s not any fun at all, but nobody hates it worse than me. It’s happening, we’re living in it and we got to figure out a way out of it.
Jones then talked about this Friday’s date at Camden.
“They’re trying and hopefully they will grow up as the year goes on. But we got to get them some confidence now,” he said. “We have a big game this week against Camden; the rival. They all want to win and we’re going to try the best to put them in that position.”

Demon Doings: L-E had one of its more balanced offensive approaches, even with the second half problems. The Demons had 313 total yards of offense getting 166 on the ground and 147 in the air … West Florence had 251 on the ground with 140 passing for a 391 total ... The Demons had seven penalties for 56 yards while WF had five for 39 … The Knights had 21 first downs to L-E’s 19 … Belton ran 27 times for 110 yards and two scores and was 7-for- 19 passing for 98 yards … On defense, the Demons were led by Emmonti Payne with 15 tackles, including three for loss of yardage. Maleek Lyles had eight tackles while also deflecting a pass and forcing a fumble.

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