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Redhawks soar past Demons

Posted: August 20, 2018 3:20 p.m.
Updated: August 21, 2018 1:00 a.m.

BLYTHEWOOD --- If there was ever a case for a mulligan in football, then the Lugoff-Elgin would have taken an absolute do-over in its start to the 2018 season. 

In Blythewood, the Redhawks of Westwood trounced the visiting Demons, 53-14. 

You could call it a double entendre of bad as anything and everything went wrong for L-E. Demons’ head coach Matt Campbell showed composure and ownership after the opening night loss. 

“We will call it a learning experience. We were not ready tonight,” he said. “It’s on my shoulders and I promise you they will be ready (this) week. Some changes are coming. A whole new standard is coming. Maybe, I was too easy on them. Maybe, I didn’t do what I needed. But I take the blame.”

The first sequence of the game told only part of the story in this one. L-E had a quick three and out to start the contest and after a solid return by Westwood, the Redhawks scored two plays later with a swing pass with the receiver going 34 yards nearly untouched down the near sideline.  

The Demons would hold Westwood and stop them with a few turnovers on downs, then even forcing a punt. But it was all downhill after that. 

The hosts tacked on back-to-back touchdown drives then added a punt return for a touchdown to go up, 28-0, at the half. 

Special teams were a big reason why L-E looked so poor in this contest. Westwood returned a kick and a punt for a score but also forced a pair of fumbles on special teams; then, later turning both into scores. All these points came in the opening six minutes of the second half putting the hosts up 46-0. 

Add an interception thrown by L-E which was also converted into a score, and that’s 35 points off special teams and turnovers in the game. 

“The kick returns and punt returns on defense, we didn’t tackle well. That’s all there is to it,” Campbell said. “I thought we turned down some tackles; we would lunge at them and not bring our feet. 

“We have to hold the ball. We actually knew their kicker was sporadic, at best, so we did some things in practice to counter that. But when the lights were on, they were off for us for some reason.”

L-E’s offense sputtered while the defense, at times, had trouble getting in the right spots. The strength of the Demons was supposed to be the 1-2 combo of tailbacks Randall Brown and Tyler Dixon. But an inexperienced offensive line was unable to block the Hawks. And on defense, it was, yet again, new faces in different places including a secondary that does not have a returning starter from a year ago.  

“In my heart of hearts, I feel like this game should have been closer,” Campbell said. “Would we have won? I don’t know. But lack of execution, missed opportunities on offense with the line hurt us. And on defense, it was just missing things that could be easily corrected and not making sound plays or having technique.” 

More than the turnovers, the talent and athletes were a handful for the L-E coaches to game plan for, too. The Redhawks are headlined by the number two-ranked prospect in the state in Cam Smith (who announced for the Gamecocks postgame) but the offensive skill players were just as impressive. They gave the L-E secondary plenty of problems early in the contest. 

“Going into this game, we knew they were talented on the outside. They looked very fast,” Campbell said. “It didn’t look like we were reacting fast. At halftime, I challenged our defense and the secondary specifically, to play faster. I think we had the ‘deer in headlight’ look. 

“This has to get fixed because we are in 5A and you are going to see athletes like this every week.” 

WHS quarterback Ahmon Green threw four touchdown passes on the night with three of those coming in the first half. The Demons would add two scores late in the game, with one of those being a short two-yard touchdown run after an L-E blocked punt which was recovered by Caiman Welch. Brown punched it in for the score as the senior finished with 59 tough yards on 18 carries. 

L-E could only muster 102 yards of total offense. 

With this one in the books, Camden is now on the horizon. 

“I told them get ready to work,” Campbell said on this week. “There is nothing we can do to change this outcome. We told them to come in on Monday and be ready to work. We are going to put the best 22 on the field this week and see where that leaves us.

“They ought to be excited about Camden, sure, but they should have been excited about tonight. We have been preparing all summer for this and I have become speechless on a night like this. It’s my fault and it won’t happen.”

Demon Doings: In the postgame, Westwood defensive back Cam Smith made his announcement in creative fashion showing his T-shirt under his jersey that he is headed to play for the University of South Carolina. The P.A even played Sandstorm. A number of media were on hand for the contest to see that … There was not much positive, stat-wise, for L-E as Brown and Dixon combined for all of the offense; running for 102 yards total … Demon sophomore quarterback Josh Gary completed three passes but went backwards for minus (-6)  yards … L-E  had six first downs and four penalties with 3 turnovers … Maybe, the only glimmer of positive was Welch who had three sacks, two pass deflections and two forced fumbles, recovering one off a blocked punt … Westwood countered with 10 first downs, two penalties and one turnover. … Green was efficient going nine of 14 for 164 passing yards with four touchdown tosses for WHS. The hosts had 132 yards rushing. 

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