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Wildcats' weapons too much for Demons to overcome

Posted: October 1, 2011 2:11 p.m.
Updated: October 3, 2011 5:00 a.m.

LEXINGTON -- Lugoff- Elgin could not stop the avalanche of mistakes and momentum created from one of the top teams in the state on Friday night as host Lexington defeated the Demons, 59-16, in the final non-region contest of the season for both squads.

Lugoff- Elgin (2-4) held strong for about a 10-minute span in the second quarter, but it simply could not keep the momentum from the hosting Wildcats (6-0) in the ballgame.

Demons’ head coach Scott Jones knew going into the game it would be tough task.

"We were undermanned, our guys fought real hard and I’m real proud of our team," he said. "I know with a score like that it’s hard to be proud, but we had chances.

"But we had some guys that got injured in the game. We've had some injuries and got short-manned out there, too. (Lexington) has a great football team and when you have a chance and opportunity to move the football, there were times we didn’t do that and it haunted us later in the game. "

The Wildcats pulled away in the second half, scoring 31 unanswered points. But this one actually got very interesting for a while in the opening 30 minutes of play.

It didn’t look that way however when the Wildcats jumped out to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter as they scored on their first three possessions of the ballgame. The first touchdown drive was highlighted by Gamecock commit Shaq Roland, who leaped and came down with a 40-yard pass from sophomore Will Hunter down the sideline. There was great coverage on the play by Trent-Grant Kirkland, but Roland just made an unbelievable effort to come down with it. Hunter finished the drive with a six-yard scoring strike to Jalen Cook on an out route to go up 7-0 with 10:09 left in the first quarter.

L-E would go three- and-out on its first possession and punted. The punt was off the heel of the Demon punter and would only net one yard, setting up the Wildcats in the red zone.

It took all of two plays for LHS senior tailback Kevin Miller to score from five yards out and make it 14-0 at the 7:49 mark of the first stanza.

After a fumble on a reverse L-E handoff, Roland scored out of the ‘wildcat,’ taking the direct snap and rushing it in to help the Wildcats go up 21-0.

In that early going, L-E was penalized numerous times for holding, negating solid gains for the offense. Jones was frustrated about the calls on a night in which the Demons ended the game with 15 penalties.

"It was unfortunate; we had an incredible amount of penalties," he said. "We had a lot of holding calls and we just can’t do that. We have to play mistake-free and not have all those holding calls to hold us back.

"It’s hard for us to overcome those I don’t know if we were holding but I got to go back and see where we made those mistakes."

At that point, it looked ugly for L-E and its solid contingent of fans that traveled to see them play. For the Demons, the massive underdogs in this one, it was about keeping the score close and their composure up.

The only shed of daylight the Demons had came in the second quarter.

The Demons showed plenty of fight in putting together a nice run.

A 48-yard, 12-play drive, led by the running of Zach Connell, put the guests at the LHS one yard line. Connell, a senior, leaped over the pile for the Demons first score of the game which came at the 9:21 mark of the second quarter.

The Demons then recovered an onside kick but came up with nothing on the offensive possession so they would have to punt again. Standing at the Lexington 45, Chris Platenberg redeemed himself from his earlier punt by directing his punt out of bounds and getting it to fall at the LHS four yard line.

Lexington tried to run it up the middle to get a little more room to work but the front seven of the Demons had no part of that as that unit bottled up ball carriers for negative or no yardage on first and second downs. On third and 11 from the three, Hunter tried to roll out and get the edge but was sacked in the end zone by Chris Brisbon and Brandon brown for a safety. That made the score 21-9 midway through the second quarter.

"It was an incredible punt," Jones said of the series. "Our defense does a good job of holding them and getting the safety, but they are just a lot bigger, physical and faster than we are. And we tried to do the best we could."

With momentum in hand, the Demons marched down the field again on the ensuing position, taking it 39 yards in 10 plays on the legs of Connell who, yet again, punched it in from a yard out over center Omar Anderson , drawing the demons to within, 21-16, with 2:12 to play before halftime.

Wide out Stephon Hunter had a key 11-yard screen play catch from Shon Belton which was crucial in the drive.

The Demons then tried something a little different. After already having recovered an onside kick earlier in the game, Jones and his coaching staff decided to try it again but this time, it failed. A couple of Demons had a chance at it but the Wildcats recovered at midfield.

Jones later talked about the decision.

"We had seen them on film, and they were taking off early," he said. "We just about got it; it was a beautiful kick and we almost had it. But another thing is, you just don’ want to kick it to Shaq (Roland.)

"We've seen on returns where they catch it and hoop it back to him. He can make anyone look silly. He’s a man among boys, and that’s why he’s going to the University of South Carolina. He’s just an incredible athlete. If you kick it deep you’re looking for trouble."

And from there, Lexington simply took over as the Wildcats turned on the light switch.

With just under two minutes to go in the half, Hunter and the Lexington offense executed a pretty drive down the field which went 50 yards in four plays, capped off by Roland rushing it in from two yards off left tackle to make it 28-16, with 45 seconds left before intermission.

Jones knew his team was not favored by the way they headed into the second half after the quick touchdown by Lexington.

"They are a fast-strike offense, we knew that going into it," he said of the Wildcats. "I thought our kids reacted really well. We were going to stick to what we do and whittle away at it.

"I thought we had a chance there but obviously, we gave up that cheap touchdown before halftime. If we don’t allow that we have the momentum going into the second half."

The second half was just a showcase of the speed and talent the Wildcat offense possesses.

Lugoff- Elgin did not get a first down until the fourth quarter and that was when some of the backups were in the game.

Lexington kept the pressure on with their three big playmakers. Miller, who sometimes is the underappreciated player in this high-powered attack, took over the game. He carried it 11 times in the second half for a total of 115 yards, including a 41-yard scoring run. Roland caught a 30-yard touchdown pass, his third total touchdown of the night, and Hunter ran it in on a bootleg down the sideline for a 50-yard touchdown. A 45-yard field goal was the icing on another win for the second-ranked Wildcats as they pulled the final score to 59-16.

Jones was proud of his young men and they way they played, but unsure of the future heading into region play which starts this upcoming Friday night at Carolina Forest.

"We are just beat up," he said. "We have so many guys limping and hobbling that jayvee players are having to fill some spots. Our best linebacker, Chris Brisbon, went out and that showed defensively.

We got some young guys that are going to have to take their lumps and learn the hard way. We are getting ready for region play and hopefully, we'll get some guys back. It’s hard to overcome when you’re missing all that.

"We've lost six players, I think, to injuries. We had 38 guys dress out, that is one of the lowest numbers we've ever had."

 

Demon Doings: Connell was the leading stat-getter for the Demons as he carried it 19 times for 103 yards … Malik Young had 34 tough yards on 12 carries … As for Lexington, Miller had a 17-carry, 140-yard night with two touchdowns … Hunter was 8-for-12 with 111 yards and two touchdowns through the air and one on the ground … Roland touched the ball five times on offense and scored three times for just 86 total yards … The Demons were penalized 15 times for 134 yards while Lexington got flagged five times for 52 yards … Lexington had just 10 first downs to the Demons’ 11 … L-E also had 251 total yards while the Wildcats accumulated 341.

 

 

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