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Winds of change could be blowing as Demons take on West Florence

Posted: September 9, 2015 2:54 p.m.
Updated: September 11, 2015 1:00 a.m.
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DEVONTE HUDSON ... L-E linebacker

Stopping short of saying this could be a week in which Lugoff-Elgin fans find out what ironman football is all about, first-year Demons’ head coach Matt Campbell all but promised that there would be some changes made.

After an 0-3 start and coming off a disheartening 43-0 loss to Nation Ford a week ago, L-E will welcome West Florence to the West Wateree this evening in the fourth game in as many Fridays for the hosts who have a bye on tap next week.

What Campbell and his staff have done in practice is trrying to find which round pegs fit into which round hole and make sure those players are on the field as much as possible for the benefit of the team. That being said, the Demons continue to be going through a tryout phase during the week to see who lines up where on Friday night.

“I’m always evaluating how we practice, who we practice and when we practice,” Campbell said. 

“We have made some changes. We’ve flipped some guys to the other side of the ball and have evaluated people on both sides, again. We’re still looking for those 11 who are going to be the most effective on both sides of the ball.”

The Demons, who are looking to put the brakes on an 18-game skid, are not being allowed to feel sorry for themselves. And if they think they are going to get any sympathy from their coaching staff, well, they have to think again.

“They’re going to be motivated because I’m not going to allow them to come out and not be motivated,” Campbell said in a matter-of-fact tone. “I have to be the motivator. Our coaches have to be the motivators. We understand that it’s not an easy situation for them but for us to get to where we want to be, we have to stay positive, keep working and keep pushing.

“The biggest thing is holding to that standard and not allowing them to fall under the standard that we have set.”

For a team which is looking for something positive to happen and then grab onto it and get the wind in its sails, the Demons had that opportunity in their second game of the season in a loss to Fort Mill. Early in that contest, L-E got a defensive stop and gave the ball to their offense which clicked along to the Yellow Jackets’ 15. But a lost fumble ended the drive which helped turn things in Fort Mill’s favor.

Something as simple as that, Campbell said, makes plenty of difference for a team which is in search of positives in any form.

“Things could have been completely different between then and now had we scored,” he said of the consequences of the missed chance. “You create a little momentum and you create a little confidence. You need every bit of those to be successful.

“I think the biggest thing for us is confidence and momentum. We haven’t been in a situation where we’re created the momentum for us to feed off of. But we’ve had some good stuff.”

While the Demons offensive staff has plenty of pages in the playbook which are still left to be turned, what bothers Campbell most of all has been many of his team’s mistakes have come from schemes and formations which were installed in the first week of spring practice in May. “At that point,” he said, “you evaluate how difficult is what we’re trying to put in.

“We have guys who are executing on a consistent basis. We don’t feel like it is hard and, generally, when they mess up they know what they’ve done wrong. I don’t know whether it is an anxiety issue or, what it is. But when they get in the game, we have to be able to go out and execute to our full potential.”

Campbell hopes things will begin coming together for the Demons tonight against a West Florence team which was not hitting on all cylinders in a season-opening 26-14 win over Camden two weeks ago inside Zemp Stadium.

Trey Woodberry’s Knights looked better despite falling to AAA state power Myrtle Beach, 35-24, last Friday in a contest which saw WF take to the fight to the Seahawks before running out of gas.

The guests have scrapped their former no-huddle, spread set with a double-wing scheme which features Eron Darby, Mike Lowery and Markus Melvin in a backfield which features a blend of speed and power. That trio will get the majority of calls behind senior quarterback Bowman Hiller who has made a seamless transition into operating the option-based attack.

“I thought they played fast and they played physical on both sides of the ball,” Campbell said of what has impressed him in watching the Knights on film.

“They’re going to run the double wing or triple option, whatever you want to call it. There is a lot of misdirection. They have three backs that all do a very good job. They don’t throw it a lot but just enough to keep you off-balance.”

Facing the offensive scheme for the first time this season, Campbell said his team will not scrap its base defensive set in trying to slow down the Knights. What he said his defensive unit must do is stay in their lanes, make the correct reads and play sound, technique football.

 “You always have to stay in your base defense,” Campbell said. “Right now, we’re not in the situation where we can really expand our defense. We have to be able to execute our base defense better before we can even start thinking about that.

“The one thing the triple option does is it makes you have to be sound with what you do on defense. Everybody has a gap and everybody has a certain void that they have to fill on defense. That triple option will exploit anything that is not there in your defense.”

Defensively, the Knights put the clamps on Camden, especially on the ground two weeks ago. They really hiked things up on that side of the ball in the second half of that contest. One player who concerns Campbell is 6-foot-7, 240-pound junior defensive end Chrishawn Wilson. And in Andrew Lee, a six-foot, 200-pound outside linebacker, WF has a duo which can take away the edge. 

“Defensively, they have a big defensive end (Wilson) and they have good speed in the secondary,” Campbell said. “I believe they play physical and they play downhill. (Lee) is a very good player who is always attacking.”

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