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Jackets surge past LE, 41-21
time out
MATT CAMPBELL AND L-E will look for their first win of the season Friday night against Rock Hill. - photo by Tom Didato

For the second time in as many weeks, Lugoff-Elgin held the lead in the second half of a game only to have nothing to show for it.

This time, the Demons led visiting Fort Mill in the third quarter only for the Yellow Jackets to storm back to close the game on a 34-7 run to leave Lugoff-Elgin Stadium with a 41-21 victory on Wednesday night.

The loss was the fifth in as many starts for Matt Campbell’s hosts while the Jackets picked up their first win of the season.

What did not help L-E on this night were penalties. The Demons were flagged 15 times and had three touchdowns called back while Fort Mill was penalized just four times.

“It comes down to execution and penalties,” Campbell said following the loss. “A great example of this game can be summed up in our first offensive drive. We moved the ball the length of the field then went backwards the length of the field in penalties. I think it was 45 yards or so in penalty yards in just that drive alone. 

“If you take the minus yards and add them in, you are in the end zone. I know I harp on it and what not but we have got to execute better; it’s proof positive of we talk about every week.”

Fort Mill opened the scoring when Sebastian Lach scored the first of his four touchdowns on the night with a three-yard scoring run in the first quarter.

Lugoff-Elgin tied it up near the end of the first half then scored on its first third quarter drive to take the lead. Both were big plays as sophomore tailback Tyler Dixon ran the first touchdown in from 70 yards with 2:49 left in the first half before Randall Brown had the go-ahead run from 49 yards out on the Demons’ first possession of the third quarter to give the hosts the 14-7 advantage. 

Lach, who had more than 200 yards rushing, knotted things on the ensuing possession with a 47-yard scoring run.

After a pair of missed field goal tries by the Demons, FM quarterback Dylan Helms fired a 47-yard touchdown to Xavier Easterlin for a 21-14 lead. Minutes later, Helms hooked up with Cam Saunders on a 29-yard scoring strike with 10:21 left in the game.

Campbell said missed chances and mistakes cost his team dearly on Wednesday.

“We had three touchdowns called back and (missed) two field goals. That's a lot of points we left on the board tonight,” he said. “The final was 41-21. Add that up. With all that left on the field, we win this game if not for penalties taking back touchdowns and missed opportunities.”

Following a lost L-E fumble on the ensuing kickoff, Lach struck again on a 38-yard jaunt. The Demons struck back on defense as Tahmaz Gilchrist made his varsity debut in style by returning the second of his two interceptions for a 78-yard pick six to make it a 34-21 game midway through the final quarter.

“Tahmaz played solid for us tonight. I was impressed,” Campbell said of Gilchrist’s performance. “He didn't play perfect but it’s the nature of it. He gave us the opportunity to win with what he did tonight and gave us a big lift with the interceptions and the touchdown.”

The Yellow Jackets then recovered the onside kick which turned into a 36-yard scoring run from Lach.

Campbell said he laid the cards on the table in his postgame talk to his team.

“I told them that it’s going to take effort. You can't get the rewards without putting in the work you know,” he said. “I told them that it’s time to take a hard look at yourself and ask if you are doing enough to help this team and prepare because on Friday night, we need you to play at your very best.”

Brown led the Demons with 126 yards on 16 carries while Dixon added 103 on seven carries. L-E sophomore quarterback Josh Gary completed 10 of 26 for 92 yards and would have had a better knot had it not been for five dropped passes.

Campbell later addressed the missed chances in the passing game.

“They have to see it and watch the film,” he said. Tghe plays are there for us. I thought Josh Gary made some good throws and delivered the ball well and made some good decisions tonight. 

“We had drops. It’s all part of the execution.”

Defensively for L-E, Caiman Welch had two tackles for loss of yardage while Tyquan Wright rang up seven tackles. David Pillard had a sack among his three stops.

Since the game was moved up and played on Wednesday, due to the threat posed by Hurricane Florence, the Demons will have an extra two days to recover and prepare for Friday’s game at Rock Hill at District 3 Stadium.

Campbell said his team needs to correct the mistakes made against Fort Mill, learn from them and move forward this week in practice.

“They have to keep fighting,” he said. “Usually, there’s a penalty when you are out of position whether it’s a block or a tackle. You have to go back to technique and look at what’s causing that.”