At Coastal Carolina’s Brooks Stadium on Friday evening, Lexington displayed the same character their fans had seen for the entire season, stick with the game plan and show up with high intensity on every play. After 48 minutes of exciting action they had advanced to overtime in Round 1 of the 5A playoffs against Carolina Forest, the runner-up in Region 6 with an overall record of 7-1.
The Wildcats scored first on the opening drive of the game when quarterback Cal Herndon ran it in from the 5 yard line on a 4th and 1 play. The Cats, however would play catchup for most of the evening.
Carolina Forest scored on their first 4 possessions, but in all but one case, Lexington was able to answer. After scoring with just seconds left in the first half to take a 28-21 lead, the Panthers would not see the end zone again in regulation.
The Lexington defense exerted itself as the second half began, stopping Carolina Forest on a 4th and 4 , then on a 4th and 8. On their next possession, Carolina Forest’s quarterback Mason Garcia was intercepted by senior Bryson Jones at the Lexington 21 and ran it to the 8. Four plays later, senior William Crouch scored on a reverse to tie the game at 28 apiece.
Overtime was next with each team beginning on the opponent’s 10 yard line. The Cats were first and responded with a touchdown when Cal Herndon found senior Nathan Baxley in the end zone.
On their possession, the Panthers struggled to move the ball and faced a 4th and 3. The 6-4, 210 pound quarterback, Mason Garcia found paydirt on a keeper. The Cats had another chance to close when the Panthers decided to go for 2 after an offside call against Lexington. It was Garcia again, this time with the game-winning conversion as the Carolina Forest Panthers prevailed 36-35. They will travel to Summerville next week for a Round 2 game.
Lexington finishes the 2018 season with a 6-5 mark.
Total Offense: Lexington 61 plays/332 yards, Carolina Forest 75 plays/492 yards
Akeem Nicholas: 20 carries for 142 yards
Cal Herndon: 15 carries for 36 yards, 2 TD
Cal Herndon: 13 of 21 attempts, 103 yards, 1 TD, 3 INT
William Crouch: 1 of 1 attempt, 44 yards, 1 TD
William Crouch: 4 catches for 34 yards
Nathan Baxley: 3 catches for 15 yards, 1 TD
Forrest Alvarez: 2 catches for 53 yards, 1 TD
Logan Cripe: 15 tackles, 1 TFL
Owen Cofer: 12 tackles, 1 PBU
David Cromer: 11 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 PBU
Levi Gulasa: 9 tackles
Isaiah Boyd: 9 tackles
Bryson Jones: 5 tackles, 1 INT