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Second half surge carries Chapin past L-E

Posted: September 4, 2018 10:38 a.m.
Updated: September 4, 2018 10:37 a.m.

 

A couple flashes, but still the same result. 

Friday night at Lugoff-Elgin, visiting Chapin used a strong second half to wear down the Demons and took the contest, winning 27-14.

The 2018 edition of these Demons --- now 0-3 --- are young and still a work in progress it seems, but definitely showed flashes at times of what it could be.

Chapin (2-0) would be stymied by the L-E defense early but made some adjustments and pounded it in the last two quarters.

The final score does not indicate just how close and competitive this game was. In fact, L-E actually led after the first minute and had a tie game at seven going into halftime.

On the game’s opening kickoff return, the Demons forced a fumble with Ethan Hix recovering the loose ball. It took just one play for the hosts to take its first lead of the season with a 13-yard touchdown run by sophomore Tyler Dixon.

L-E head coach Matt Campbell almost felt a sigh of relief to have something good happen early.

“We came out strong on the first kickoff then took it in there for a score and got points,” he said. “We finally, for the first time this season, had some momentum and excitement.

“And our defense played hard tonight. In the first half, we actually controlled the first 10-12 minutes of the clock. We had a big, long drives getting down the field but then it but couldn’t sustain it.”

Campbell was spot on in regard to the offense as the Demons moved the ball well throughout the half but simply could not get it in the end zone. As for the L-E defense, they were as fired up as they have been all season.

After the teams exchanged several punts, L-E had some drives stall out after crossing midfield on more than one occasion. Chapin would swing the momentum in their favor with an 11-play, 61-yard drive scoring with just 21 seconds left in the half to make it 7-7.

Taison Thomas capped off the drive with a short run but it was Chapin quarterback Roger Pedroni who hit some big passes on the Demon side of the field. Pedroni is a smart quarterback who can make the plays on the run and in the air, and had the leisure of playing behind a young, but large offensive line.

“They pounded it down the field, too. They mixed it up,” Campbell said of the Eagles’ offensive scheme. “We were not in position. We have to make those plays when it comes time like that. When your number is called, you have to make a play.

“I thought our kids played hard, though. I think our understanding of the overall scheme is just not where it needs to be covering sometimes.”

With the score knotted at intermission, it didn’t take long for the visiting Eagles to carry that momentum over as they scored on their first drive of the third quarter.

After the Demons went three and out to start the half, Chapin went 12 plays and 71 yards, in a march finished off by another short touchdown run by Thomas, who finished with over 100 yards rushing on the night. It made the score 14-7 and took five minutes off the clock.

“It swung all the momentum in their direction with that drive,” Campbell said. “And here’s the big difference from last year to this year, confidence. We just don’t have that yet this season. It ties in with everything else we talk about in consistency and efficiency. We are not either of those right now. Our confidence is down and we are struggling with it.”

A missed 34 yard field goal, a lost fumble and turnover on downs ended the next three Demon drives for an L-E offense which is still a work in progress.

“We are searching right now,” Campbell said. “It still comes down to basic fundamentals. We are making a lot of mistakes of stuff we put in during week one in May. At this point, it should be second nature to us and it’s not.

“I try to find ways of getting it to them differently. We have tried but I don’t know, we just have to find a way of getting a different comprehension of what we do.”

Chapin would put together two more touchdown drives scoring on two 15 yard runs by two different players to make the score 27-7.

The Eagles made some definite adjustments in the running game and found some holes and gaps that were not there in the first half.  It seemed the L-E defense was getting worn down just a bit too, and that plays into being on the field so long.

“We got a little tired there,” Campbell said of his team’s defense. “Chapin had some long sustained drives. It was a different scheme in the second half. They ran the tight end to that wing and ran the g-scheme and pulled the guards around. They did a good job on us. We were getting washed and were not gap sound.”

L-E tacked on a late score in the fourth; a screen pass to Randall Brown that went 55 yards for a touchdown.

Both brown and Dixon caught screen passes and had big gains on them. Brown made some great moves to break free on his which led to the final tally of 27-14.

The L-E defense played better while the offense showed some flashes of creativity and progression but through three games the Demons have failed to score more than 14 points in any of their games. Hopefully for them, a few more non-region games will get them ready for contention later this month.

“I just told them it’s a long season,” Campbell said of his postgame talk to his squad. “We only have played three (games) with seven more to go. I want them to work hard and they will.

“We have to be more sound going into 5A football and only carrying 35 guys. We just have to be in a great shape and fight week in and week out. These coaches are going work hard and create the best game plans every week. I’m asking these players what I get from my coaches and that is hard work and preparation to get ready week in and week out. “

Demon Doings: Both Jasper Tucker and Chanden Whitener had seven-tackle performances for L-E with Tucker forcing a fumble … Tyrik Richardson has not gotten off to a great start. After being third in the Midlands in tackles last year, he is well below his pace and only had four stops Friday … Unofficially, Chapin had 261 total yards of offense with 12 first downs and just four penalties. L-E had 215 yards offense with sophomore quarterback Josh Gary throwing for a season high 150 yards and a touchdown … L-E had 11 first downs and five penalties.

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