After the opening game of the 2016 season on Friday night, Coach Josh Stepp talked to his players about consistent execution, minimizing mistakes, and avoiding costly penalties. He also celebrated a win, the 14th in the last 15 games. It was a game where the Lexington offense amassed 37 points on 333 yards. On the defensive side, the Cat D shut out their opponents for 3 1/2 quarters and forced 4 turnovers.
Lexington traveled to Florence for a meeting with the Knights of West Florence on a hot, humid evening. At kickoff time the heat index was 97 degrees.
After a 3-and-out on the Knight’s opening possession, the ensuing Wildcat drive ended when Lexington lost a fumble on the 50 yard line. It would be the one and only Cat turnover of the game.
On the next West Florence possession, a Cooper Wallace pass on 3rd down was intercepted by senior defensive back Drew Richardson at the Lexington 45 and advanced to the Knight 47. On the first play, quarterback Chase Crouch connected with Jordan Hiller on a 42 yard pass to the 5 yard line. Cooper Smith carried it in to give Lexington a 7-0 lead.
In the 2nd quarter, Daiquan Wells intercepted a pass at the Cat 4 yard line as the Knights were driving down the field. Lexington successfully mixed solid running from Donte Davis and Cooper Smith with sharp passing. After two Wildcat penalties on 2nd and 26, Chase Crouch completed a strike to Daiquan Wells to the West Florence 40. Six plays later, Cooper Smith was in the end zone for the second time and the lead ballooned to 13-0.
The Wildcat defense turned up the heat on the following Knight possession. On a 1st and 10 play from midfield, junior linebacker Chandler Corley forced a fumble and recovered it on the West Florence 44. An 11 yard completion to Oscar Ferguson to the 33 and a 37 yard touchdown pass to Trey Norman gave Lexington a 20-0 halftime lead.
The 2nd half opened with the Wildcats driving the length of the field but failing to convert on 4th and goal. The Knights took over at their 1 yard line and after ten running plays, moved the ball to the Lexington 35. Quarterback Ryan Roberts threw a dangerous pass to a well-covered receiver that was picked by junior Parker Vancoutren on the 30. He took it all the way for the pick-6 and a 27-0 lead.
Lexington started the next possession on their 26 yard line. Chase Crouch completed a 14 yard pass to his brother, junior wide receiver William Crouch. After a Donte Davis run of 13 yards, Crouch connected with Oscar Ferguson for 29 yards, then Trevor Daniel for 5, and Jordan Hill for 3. From the 1 yard line, Donte Davis punched it in to make the score 34-0.
The Knights answered with their first points of the evening after starting a drive from their own 29 yard line. After five running plays advanced the ball to the Lexington 29, quarterback Ryan Roberts completed a 22 yard pass to junior Vick Johnson. Senior running back Mike Lowery then carried it in from the 7 for the touchdown.
West Florence had one last scoring opportunity as they got the ball back with 1:51 remaining on the game clock. Roberts went into pass mode completing four of six, the last one a 23 yard connection to junior Carter Woodberry as time ran out.
The final score was 34-13 as Lexington earned the opening night win. They will play AC Flora on Thursday night at Memorial Stadium in Columbia. Flora dropped their opener 36-24 at Woodruff.
Head coach Josh Stepp was pleased with the overall effort of his team. “I’m proud of our kids and coaches. This group will get better and better each week with the more experience they get. To go on the road in 5A football a week earlier than we’ve ever played and to play this well says a lot about our kids.”
- West Florence with their run-focused triple option, rushed for 182 yards to 121 for Lexington.
- The Cats had a solid edge in the passing game, 212 yards to 146.
- Total offense was close with Lexington covering 333 yards and West Florence gaining 238.
- The Wildcats were penalized 11 times for 109 yards while the Knights were flagged 8 times for 73 yards.
Donte Davis: 10 carries/49 yards, 1 TD
Daiquan Wells: 3 carries/24 yards
Cooper Smith: 9 carries/22 yards, 2 TD
Chase Crouch: 10 completions/17 attempts, 212 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT
Oscar Ferguson: 3 catches/54 yards
Jordan Hiller: 2 catches/45 yards
Trevor Daniel: 2 catches/14 yards
Daiquan Wells: 1 catch/48 yards
Trey Norman: 1 catch/37 yards, 1 TD
William Crouch: 1 catch/14 yards
Gunnar Kennedy: 4/5 extra points, 4 touchbacks/6 kickoffs, 1 punt/41 yards to inside the 10 yard line.
Chandler Corley: 10 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery
Othello Sutton: 8 tackles
Parker Vancoutren: 8 tackles, 1 interception, 2 break ups
Will Moshier: 6 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss
Jaylen McCoy: 6 tackles
Jacob Samples: 5 tackles
Alston Stewart: 5 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss
Shane Felder: 4 tackles, 1 break up
Eric Ricker: 4 tackles, 1 break up
Drew Richardson: 3 tackles, .5 tackles for loss
Matthew Boring: 3 tackles, .5 tackles for loss