Lamar advances to upper state with revenge win
By Drake Horton
LAMAR, SC – It was sweet revenge for the Lamar Silver Foxes this past Friday night against the Wagener-Salley War Eagles. Last year at Wagener-Salley, the Silver Foxes saw their season come to an end in the second round of the 1A playoffs, but this year the roles have been flipped with Lamar scoring a 52-28 win over the War Eagles at home in the second round of this year’s playoffs. “I was excited about this opportunity,” Lamar head coach Chad Wilkes said after the game. “We knew this was how the bracket was going to shape up. I was pulling for them last week; we wanted another shot at them. We felt like we probably could have had it last year.” The game was all tied up at 14 at the half, but Wilkes and his staff made the necessary adjustments and came out dominating in the third quarter and Lamar never looked back. On just the second play of the third quarter Lamar’s Tyler McManus connected with Derrick Higgins for a 60-yard touchdown. After converting the two-point conversion to put Lamar up by eight, the Silver Foxes defense forced a critical turnover on downs that proved to be the turning point in the game. On the four and out, Wagener-Salley shot itself in the foot twice, once on an illegal shift that negated a long touchdown run and then on a dropped pass on third down that would have moved the chains for the War Eagles. Lamar capitalized on the situation and put together a methodical drive that ended with TJ Dolford scoring out of the wishbone formation from 18 yards out. With a 16-point lead Wagener-Salley was never able to get closer than 10 for the rest of the game. While the defense had some bright spots at times, it was the offense that stole the show for the Silver Foxes. Whether it was out of the spread or in the wishbone, Lamar was a balanced offense that kept the War Eagles guessing on defense, especially in the second half. “I’m from Cheraw, we are going to run the wishbone,” Wilkes said. “We knew we were going to have to throw the ball because they do a great job stopping the run, they have all year. We knew we were going to have to make some plays in the passing game to try and back them up a little bit. Again we have a really good quarterback and really good receivers and it makes my job easy.” While Lamar scored only 14 points in the first half, the Silver Foxes exploded 38 points in the second half and helping lead that cause was McManus. He finished the night with three passing touchdowns and a rushing touchdown. Though two of his passing touchdowns came in the first half, both times Lamar was down, his go ahead touchdown to Higgins to start the third quarter and his rushing touchdown at the end of that quarter set the tone for what was a ground and pound fourth. In the fourth, Lamar lined up primarily in the wishbone and imposed its will on the War Eagles scoring two more touchdowns on the ground. Lamar now will shift its focus on Southside Christian, who it will face on the road this coming week for the 1A upper state championship.