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Banged-up Demons host Tigers for homecoming

Posted: October 12, 2011 3:29 p.m.
Updated: October 14, 2011 5:00 a.m.

JOSH RUIZ ... L-E three-wway performer

With four games left in the conference season and having started conference play with a loss to Carolina Forest last week, tonight would be as good a time as any for Lugoff-Elgin to see if it can find that magic which led them to the Region 6-4A title a season ago.

But this is not the same Demons’ squad of a year ago. Heck, it hardly resembles the team head coach Scott Jones envisioned having just a few short weeks back.

It will be a battered L-E squad which visiting Conway will square off against tonight at L-E Stadium. And while injuries have sent his number of available players tumbling, Jones said there is still time for his troops to turn their season around.

Last week, with his team trailing, 33-0, at halftime, Jones thought he was not getting maximum effort from some of his players and he let them know about it during intermission. But after watching the game film, he discovered that he was wrong.

“I was very disappointed last week,” he said. “I thought I could sense that, maybe, some guys were kind of quitting on us in the first half. When I went back and watched it on film, I saw that wasn’t the case. Our guys fought hard, but we just weren’t making plays. As long as they do that and they have a good attitude then, possibly, good things will happen to us. We’re in a region race where it could be like last year where we had one region loss and ended up winning the thing.

“I just don’t feel like any team will go through our region undefeated. I may be wrong about that, but I feel like that will be the case. If we can, somehow, just hang in there and squeak out a couple of victories, we’ll be right back in the thick of things.”

In trying to put the past behind them, the Demons and their coaching staff have changed things around during practice this week. Due to the injury situation, L-E had little, if any, contact in practice prior to the Carolina Forest contest. Jones said his team played like they practiced.

After that performance, Jones said he had no other alternative than to go back to hitting this week.

“Last week, we didn’t hit at all. And, unfortunately, we tackled about as poorly as we could have tackled in last Friday’s game,” Jones said. “As a coach, you have to make a decision, ‘Do you work on these things and risk injury during the week?’

“This week, we’ve decided that we really don’t have anything to lose. If we don’t get any better, what difference does it make?  We’re having more contact this week and trying to get better with our blocking, tackling and the fundamentals of the game. We may end up with some other guys getting hurt, who knows? But we have to try and do something to give our kids a chance.”

In order to make sure the Demons had enough able bodies to get a good look at practice, Jones had the junior varsity players practice with the varsity. Due to the injury situation, many former Demons jayvee performers are now playing and/or starting on Friday night rather than on Thursdays.

“We’ve experienced injuries before and we’ve had to replace people, but we’re losing an average of two or three a week,” Jones said. “It’s all been during the games; it’s not like we’re beating them up in practice. And, they’re weird and they’re freak injuries. We’ve had concussions and neck injuries. We’re having things happen that I have never experienced since I’ve been here.

“It’s very unfortunate because we have some guys out there who are trying the best they can and we’re having to fill spots. It’s changing things on defense and its changing things on offense. It’s just not a pretty sight, right now.”

While the Demons are licking their wounds, Conway has to be looking for redemption after opening league play with a 20-14 loss to West Florence. In that game, the Tigers had the ball inside the WF one with :0.4 seconds left, only to have a botched snap in the shotgun formation end the hosts’ comeback hopes.

Tonight, the guests will throw a two-pronged quarterback attack at the Demons in the form of Mykal Moody who, after sustaining a concussion on Sept. 23, was replaced by Robert Nelson. Jones believes Moody will be under center tonight, but said there is little difference between the two signal-callers.

“They’re clones. There is no difference between them, whatsoever,” he said of the pair who direct a Clemson-like offense. “They can both run and they can both throw the ball; they’re very good athletes. You have to contain them or else, they’ll run all over the field. The teams that have had success against Conway have done a good job in containing those guys.”

Defensively, Chuck Jordan’s charges will line up in an eight-man front and will seldom blitz. “They play good technique and they’re very well-coached,” Jones said of the Conway defense. “We kind of know where they are going to line up this week and they don’t deviate very much from that. We hope that we will be able to take advantage of some of the things that they do. They’re very, very strong and very, very physical on defense.”

Jones said that for the time being, all he is concerned about is “getting a first down.” But he said his team’s struggles are not due, in any part, to a lack of effort on the part of his players.

“We’ll move the ball and then, we’ll take a few steps back,” he said. “Obviously, we’re scratching our heads on both sides of the ball and replacing people doesn’t make it any easier. As a coach, though, I couldn’t be prouder of our kids.”


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