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Falcons grounded in 56-14 loss to L-E

Posted: October 24, 2016 4:16 p.m.
Updated: October 25, 2016 1:00 a.m.
Photo courtesy of goflashwin.com/

L-E’S AHMAD BRYANT WAS part of a defensive trio which registered six tackles for loss in Friday’s win over Darlington.

It was a win 13 seniors may never forget. 

Friday night at Lugoff-Elgin, the hosts cruised to a complete team victory over Darlington, 56-14. The win also secured a playoff berth for Demons for the first time since 2010. 

L-E (4-5, 2-1 in Region 6-4A) played, maybe, its best game on offense gaining just under 400 total yards and held the Falcons (1-8, 1-2 in 6-4A) scoreless until late in the game when it was well out of hand. 

When asked about the convincing performance, L-E head coach Matt Campbell enjoyed it with a big smile. 

“We scored on defense, we scored on offense,” he said. “And the defense did what they’ve been doing all year. They controlled tempo and stopped the offense. We executed some on offense and made plays. They played hard and it was great. But really the best part about tonight is that everyone on that sideline got to play and had a role in the win tonight. I’m excited for all those kids who got in there and showed effort.”

 A trio of seniors scored touchdowns and a handful more played crucial roles in the impressive Region 6 victory. But it was one senior who some could argue stole the show on this night. Joe Summers accounted for two touchdowns and had a pair of interceptions and wasted no time in getting started. 

On the first play of the game, Summers picked off a pass at midfield and returned it to the Falcon 29. The pick set up the first score for the Demons as Rahmel Burton punched it in from the one. 

The L-E faithful may not have known it then but the 7-0 lead at the 8:39 mark would be the start of a great evening for the Demons. 

Burton added another touchdown, his 11th on the season, as he burst through a hole off the right side down the near sideline for a 53-yard score later in the quarter and L-E was rolling early. 

“It’s nice,” Campbell said of getting off to a good start and cruising after that. “This is a good feeling for us. We were coming off the loss from last week against Hartsville but we thought it was one we could build off of with all the hard work and determination we played with and we did it again tonight.” 

The defense was led by some big plays from Javon Bowers, Cameron Payne and Ahmad Bryant who combined for six tackles for loss. With the offense efficient, Campbell knew there was still room to get better. The offense missed a few opportunities and could have stretched the lead.

 “We just missed on some plays there in the first half,” Campbell said. “I thought if we connected on a few of the screens, those certainly would have been huge for us. We had a couple throwbacks where the defensive end did a good job of knocking the ball down and we didn’t execute great. And then there were times we got in position to score but penalties moved us back a little bit. We got to eliminate that and strive to be perfect.”

Even with all the excitement, L-E held just a 21-0 halftime lead, although it felt more dominating then that with the way the defense manhandled the Falcons.

Campbell called out his seniors to finish strong. 

“I told them at halftime that I thought we could still play a little better than what we were and to never be satisfied. I told them to come out and ‘pretend its 0-0 in your minds,’” he said. “I challenged the offense to get four more scores and I told the defense to get that no-no and keep it scoreless.” 

The Demons took to the challenge by scoring quickly to open the second half as junior quarterback Chandler Price led and finished a drive that went 47 yards. Price snuck in over center for his seventh rushing touchdown of the season. 

However, this night belonged to Summers and his fellow seniors. The two-way skill player scored back-to-back touchdowns late in the third quarter; first catching a 78-yard touchdown pass from Price down the middle of the field bringing it in at the Falcon 30 and running the rest of the way. It was a play which L-E has attempted over and over again but had not connected on in that big of a distance since losing Gatlin Lawson to an injury earlier in the season.

“It was nice simply to just at least get that on film so these teams have something else to prepare for on us other than our running,” Campbell said of the play. 

Summers later had the play of the night with an 80-yard interception return for a score that was simply breathtaking. With the play it was all of a sudden 42-0. 

“He’s a great athlete,” Campbell said of Summers. “He has a nose for the ball. He had the first pick then again with the pick six. We there on offense and he scores. Joe made some great plays for us tonight.”

It wasn’t just about the skill guys. They might have gotten into the end zone but the unheralded stars like the lineman on both sides, played very well. 

Both senior Elliott Campbell and his brother, junior Wyatt, played on the strong side of the line to help the run game and made some big blocks and holes for positive outcomes. 

“I thought they were trying to be tough and physical. They were trying to do all they could to help our team win tonight,” said L-E head coach Matt Campbell. “They are two big bodies and we needed them. And we’ll need them to continue that if we are going to advance later in the playoffs.”

The Demons played every player on the sidelines and even featured some players of the future like sophomore R.J. Brown and junior fullback Jay Lynch. The latter scored his first varsity touchdown after getting the ball three straight times inside the 20. It was the final score in a 56 point output by L-E, its most since 2009. 

“We did a lot of things on offense and spread it around,” Campbell said. “Everybody got some touches tonight made plays and a lot of guys scored. Even Jay Lynch got in there and got into the end zone. We were just trying to run the clock down there in the end.”

Darlington would add two more scores as the Demons started to play some of their younger players on defense. 

All in all, the Demons made yet another stride in their uphill climb in re-establishing themselves as a competitive football program. And with this victory sealing a spot in the postseason, Campbell knows the next game could mean even more. A home playoff game could make all the difference and that’s what L-E will be playing for in next Friday after having a bye this week.

“The season is not over,” Campbell said. “We have a very good Crestwood team to face here in a few weeks. So we have to get back to work and go back to the grindstone and focus one game at a time. There is security in knowing where we are but we want to finish this thing out and do it with some momentum.”

After the contest, Campbell said he told his players not to lose the feeling they had or, stop thinking ahead to the next game.

“I told them to take a look at the scoreboard and enjoy it. I also said how proud I was of them,” he said. “They set the bar every week for what I expect and hopefully they raise their expectations of what’s possible with this team.” 

 

Demon Doings: Unofficially, the Demons rolled up 381 total yards of offense as Burton carried it 13 times for 106 yards and two scores ... Price had 11 carries for 71 yards and a touchdown while Jermaine Jenkins added 40 yards and also reached the end zone … L-E had 14 first downs to 10 for DHS … On defense, Summers added 11 tackles to go with his two-interception and two-touchdown night … Adam Rowson had 10 solo tackles, while Payne had nine stops ... As a team, L-E had 10 tackles for loss including three sacks, two of which were recorded by senior lineman Javon Bowers. 


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