Senior night turns sour for Darlington
By Drake Horton
This past Friday night had the chance to be really special for the Darlington Falcons.
It was already special in the sense that Darlington was celebrating the athletic careers of 18 seniors, but there was a chance for something more.
Entering its game against the Lugoff-Elgin Demons with a 1-1 record in the region, a win would not only send its seniors out on a winning note, but it would set up a winner-take-all game for the region championship against the Hartsville Red Foxes this week.
Maybe it was the moment, maybe it was the emotion, maybe it was neither and Darlington would have been outplayed no matter, but regardless of the reason, it turned out to be a night that the Falcons would rather forget, losing 49-21.
“Sometimes I think we might have put a little bit more pressure on them than what they were ready to handle about the circumstances the game presented for us,” Darlington head coach John Jones said. “We didn’t come out in the first half and match the standard of what we are trying to build to.”
The first half was a complete nightmare for the Falcons. While Darlington failed to execute on its offensive plays, it was a different story for Lugoff-Elgin.
“Well, in the first half we kind of shot ourselves in the foot,” Jones said. “We had seven drops on plays where we had guys wide open, hit them in the hands, we had seven drops, we had five miscues up front on protection, it flushed out of the pocket a couple of times. That’s on us; those are mistakes we can’t afford to make to beat a good football team. They got a good football team and those guys do a good job.”
It was not just the offense that struggled in the first half for the Falcons, the defense, which has been a strong point of late for Darlington, made some uncharacteristic mistakes helping lead to the 35-0 lead the Demons had at the half.
“Defensively we busted two coverages and two coverages costed us two touchdowns in the first half and there is no excuse for those things to be happening this late in the year,” Jones said.
The game was never really as close as what the score indicated and while 49-21 is not necessarily close it really could have been worse than that.
Still down 35-0, with Lugoff-Elgin’s second string defense in the game, the Falcons finally found the end zone with 1:45 left in the third quarter as Michael Dixon scored from nine yards out.
That score seemed to trigger a little life into Darlington and it struck again on its next offensive possession against the Demons’ second string defense with Jordan English catching a 49-yard touchdown pass in stride with just 8.4 seconds left in the third quarter.
Frustrated with Darlington turning a 35-0 lead into a 35-14 lead in just under two minutes the Demons reinserted their first string answering with a touchdown early in the fourth quarter and capped it off with their final score with 4:06 left in the game.
Sandwiched between those two scores the Falcons hit one more big play as Javorius Williams found a crease and scampered in for a 70-yard touchdown run, the longest scoring play of the night for either team.
Darlington is 2-7 overall, 1-2 in the region.