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Angry Vikes invade L-E for senior night

Posted: October 4, 2018 11:33 a.m.
Updated: October 5, 2018 1:00 a.m.
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RANDALL BROWN ... L-E tailback

From the “can’t catch a break” file: As if their first year in the state 5A ranks has not been tough enough on Lugoff-Elgin, now, Irmo has not done the Demons any favors.

It was going to be hard as it is for L-E to pick up its first win of the season when Spring Valley comes to the West Wateree tonight to close out the regular season home slate for Matt Campbell’s squad. The Vikings will come to L-E Stadium more than a tad upset after opening Region 4-5A play with a 31-28 loss to Irmo.

“No, they didn’t,” Campbell said with a smile when asked if Irmo did anyhting to help the Demons’ cause. “That was quite a game. 

“Obviously, I had a chance to watch it when I was breaking down film. It’s probably going to help (SV) refocus. I’m sure they can’t wait for Friday night to get here.”

Irmo helped itself by capitalizing on Viking turnovers; one on a 52-yard pick six while returning a fumble 33 yards for a touchdown as the visiting Yellow Jackets jumped to a quick, 14-0 lead before holding on. Campbell said the mistakes were uncharacteristic of a Robin Bacon-coached squad.

“Spring Valley … they are who they are,” Campbell said. “They are going to run the triple option which is what Hartsville did. (SV head coach) Robin Bacon does a great job over there. They’re well-coached and are going to do what they do.

“They’re an efficient team. They’re a patient team,” said the fourth-year L-E boss. “They’re very content playing three yards and a cloud of dust because they know if you keep hitting that nail, it’s going to break through.”

What Irmo was able to do was match SV’s offensive speed with the speed which the Yellow Jackets possess on defense while getting physical with the Vikings. Playing physical is something which the Demons will have to do tonight against a 3-2 Vikings’ squad which had a three-game win streak snapped a snapped a week ago after having opened the season with a 63-0 loss to Dutch Fork.

The SV offense relies on the ground game and runs out of a flexbone-style attack which resembles that which the Demon defense faced when they played Hartsville the previous two seasons. Getting their defense off the field will be one of the keys for the hosts tonight.

Campbell said his team needs to step up to the plate, so to speak, and fight fire with fire against an aggressive, ball control Viking offense.

“We have to be physical. We have to be very sound in our execution and we have to be very disciplined in what we do,” Campbell said of the challenge awaiting his defense. “If you have the quarterback, you have to take the quarterback. If you have pitch, you can’t get out of your gaps because, with the athletes they have and with that system, if they catch you sneaking a peek somewhere, they’re gone.”

Defensively, aside from shutting out Richland Northeast, the Vikings have been vulnerable, at times. The Demon offense was shut out a week ago against Sumter but did regain the services of starting tailback and leading rusher Randall Brown after having to sit out the previous week’s loss to Rock Hill with an injury.

Now that Brown has his game legs under him, he is expected to play a large role for an L-E offense which must sustain drives and come away with points from those marches. With Brown healthy, it may open things for backfield mate Tyler Dixon.

“Randall’s not going to miss a beat. He works so hard every day in practice,” Campbell said. “I thought he ran the ball very well the other night and made a lot out of nothing. To have those two back, it definitely is a boost for us.”

Tonight being senior night, the Demons will honor those players who are playing in their final regular season home contest. While appreciative for the hours and hard work that group has put in, Campbell said the best way to honor them is to come away with a victory tonight.

“I appreciate what our seniors have brought to our program. They have put in the time and the work that is necessary,” Campbell said. “I would love to get them a win, obviously. To me, though, it’s football night.

“Senior night is a way to recognize those kids but, at the end of the day, we have a football game to play.”

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