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L-E not giving in or, giving up

Posted: November 6, 2013 1:52 p.m.
Updated: November 8, 2013 5:00 a.m.

SHON BELTON ... L-E quarterback

Irmo has locked down second place in Region 4-4A and has little else to play for tonight, other than trying to stay upright and healthy for next week’s playoff opener.
Lugoff-Elgin, on the other hand, will put up the uniforms after this visit from the Yellow Jackets on Senior Night at Lugoff-Elgin Stadium.
Given those two different scenarios, the temptation would be there, on the part of the host Demons, to simply mail this one in, get the game and season over with and enjoy some down time for the first time since the early summer. Instead, it has been business as usual this week in practice in the West Wateree.
For the 11th time in as many weeks, L-E head coach Scott Jones simply shook his head in admiration and smiles when he talks about the days of preparation for tonight’s season finale.
“It went by fast, but it’s been a long year for everyone involved,” Jones said of the 2013 season. “I have to give the kids credit because they’ve really hung in there, especially our seniors who have set a great example for the younger kids ... these kids have been great.
“These kids are doing the best they can do. They’ve stayed with it and have worked hard.”
If there ever was an opportunity for the Demons to have packed it in, it would have been a week ago when a powerful Spring Valley team came to town. Instead of it being the rout which some had feared, L-E gave the Vikings all they wanted for more than a half of football before falling, 38-14.
It took Miles Aldridge’s squad more than 30 minutes to finally start pulling away from a stubborn band of Demons who trailed, 17-14, at the break.
“I thought our kids played as hard as they could play last week,” Jones said. “We had a chance at halftime to be close in the game; we were competing. I couldn’t be any more proud of the way our guys fought.”
Not satisfied with a moral victory, Jones said the Demons continuing to battle in spite of long odds did not go undetected across the field. As the two head coaches met to shake hands following the contest, Aldridge expressed his admiration to Jones and his staff for how the hosts played for the entire 48 minutes.
“Last week,” Jones said, “our kids went into that game believing we could win. We were totally outmatched physically.
“Coach Aldridge told me after the game that I should be proud of our kids because they played their tails off. Spring Valley just had better players, athletically, but they didn’t have as much heart as our kids did. I thought that was a great compliment to our kids.”
With one last chance to get a second win of the season, Jones joked in saying that the Demons would run different schemes, go for it on fourth and 20 situations and change what they had been working on all season for tonight’s game.
In this final week of practice, the coaching never ceased. And the L-E players continued to work hard to get better at what they do. There were no gimmick plays thrown into the mix this week.
As for the visiting Yellow Jackets, their lone conference loss came to Spring Valley, 58-28, three weeks ago. Bob Hanna’s troops shrugged off an 0-4 start to the season to have won five of their last six games. Included in this stretch was a 42-41 victory over rival Dutch Fork.
The visitors are led by quarterback Demetrius Lewis. The 6-foot-3 senior has thrown for 1,722 yards and 17 touchdowns through the first 10 games. He has a quartet of tall, rangy wide outs to choose from led by Manny Banks, who has 27 grabs for 534 yards.
“This is not a good match-up for us in space,” Jones said of the match-up between the Yellow Jacket receivers and the young L-E secondary. “They have some great receivers who make plays when they get in space. They also have a quarterback who throws the ball very well.
Lewis is also a threat when he runs the ball;  his 433 rushing yards are second only to tailback Shyheim Copeland, who has rushed for 1,129 yards and 13 touchdowns this year.
“They have a good running back, but it’s the quarterback who can run,” Jones said of Lewis’ being the ‘go to’ player for the Jackets. “He poses a threat and we have to have somebody spying on him the whole game.
“What we have decided is that we’re going to try and pressure (Lewis) as much as possible and make him have to drill us and, if he does, he does. But we’re not going to sit back and let him pick us apart.”
Defensively, the Jackets were porous in pre-conference play only to have started to short things up on that side of the football recently. The Irmo defense, which operates out of a 3-4 scheme,  may well be coming off its best performance in holding Blythewood to seven points last week in a 25-7 win.
“They don’t blitz a lot and, they try not to get beat deep,” Jones said. “They’ll come up and smack you and they have a free safety who is faster than any automobile in our parking lot
“Irmo is just a good football team. They’re very talented in a lot of areas.”


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