Stifling defense once again key to Loris football’s hopes

For The Sun NewsAugust 12, 2013 

Aynor Loris Football

Loris running back Levi Moody ran for 1,221 yards and 16 touchdowns last season.

FILE PHOTO BY CHARLES SLATE — cslate@thesunnews.com Buy Photo

  • The scoop

    Coach | Jamie Snider (17-6 in two seasons at Loris and overall)

    Last year | 8-4, 4-1 Region VIII-AA, second place; lost in third round of Class AA playoffs

    Returning starters | 6 offense/11 defense

    Strengths | Loris’ numbers on defense in 2012 were simply sick. The team allowed 9.9 points per game and pitched four shutouts. What’s more, all 11 starters are back with another year of experience and another offseason of workouts under their belt.

    Weaknesses | If there’s one thing that frustrates Snider, it was the fact that his team lost several key games last year, including a pair against region rival Dillon, because his team didn’t have enough left in the tank in the fourth quarter. It will have to learn how to overcome that if a region title is even possible.

    Three players to watch

    Levi Moody, Jr., RB | Moody burst onto the area football scene in a big way as a sophomore, rushing for 1,221 yards and 16 touchdowns.

    Ryan Bellamy, Sr., WR/DB/RET | Do-it-all player makes an impact any time the ball is in his vicinity, be it on offense, defense or special teams.

    Malik Vereen, Sr., LB | He wasn’t the team’s leading tackler, but he may have been the most disruptive force. He piled up 26 tackles for loss, 9.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, two pass break-ups and a pick.

  • 2013 schedule

    Date Opponent Time ’12 result
    Aug. 23at St. James7:30 p.m.W, 9-8
    Aug. 30vs. North Myrtle Beach7:30 p.m.W, 26-6
    Sept. 6vs. South Columbus (N.C.)7:30 p.m.L, 16-14
    Sept. 13at Green Sea Floyds7:30 p.m.W, 25-0
    Sept. 27vs. Georgetown7:30 p.m.L, 24-14
    Oct. 4at Marion7:30 p.m.W, 56-0
    Oct. 11vs. Waccamaw7:30 p.m.W, 49-0
    Oct. 18at Mullins7:30 p.m.W, 36-8
    Oct. 25at Dillon7:30 p.m.L, 21-14
    Nov. 1vs. Aynor7:30 p.m.W, 29-8

  • 2013 roster

    No. Name Pos Ht. Wt. Grade
    1Ryan BellamyRB/DB5-917012
    2Bennett WinslowQB6-319012
    3Danwane HemingwayWR6-219012
    6Tyree FloydTE/DE6-220512
    7Shammond JacksonWR/DB50916512
    8Stacy DozierRB/LB5-818011
    9Cortarious GauseWR6-317010
    10Desmond DozierDB5-715510
    11Miles WaddellQB5-713010
    12Ta’Jay WilliamsQB5-1016010
    15Timothy BellQB5-91609
    18Cory BoydWR5-714512
    20Tyriese JacksonRB/DB5-818012
    21Charoldric WilliamsLB5-1017511
    22Demetrius HemingwayRB/DB5-917511
    23Levi MoodyLB/DL50821011
    24Mitchell VincentiniDB5-816010
    25Jimmy JacksonDB5-816512
    26Jordan RockefellerDB5-816011
    32Sterling BlountRB/DB5-81509
    36Austin MessengerLB5-1118012
    40Shaeem WilliamsRB/LB5-81609
    42Steven WelchLB5-718011
    43Quavon BellamyLB5-720012
    44Zach FairclothRB/TE5-1018012
    51Max HickmanDL5-1118010
    52Joey LettsDL5-1118512
    53Reid HilburnOL5-1120011
    60Adrian PatrickOL5-1120011
    63Nicholas McDowellOL6-229011
    64Anthony SoussiOL5-919012
    70Devlin GaskinOL6-129011
    72Shaquille HardeeDL5-820512
    74Michael ForteDL6-023012
    80Hakeem JacksonRB/DB5-81509
    84Bryan AyalaK5-714010
    85Siegfried LongRB5-1018511
    90Malik VereenDL/LB5-918012
    92Jordan HemingwayDL5-1122011

Ryan G., Boo and Chops may not be the most intimidating collection of nicknames for high school players. Some of them don’t even make any sense.

But you better believe guys like Ryan Bellamy, Charoldric Williams, Malik Vereen and the rest of the Loris defense is about as scary as it gets. The Lions, with 11 returning starters and another 10 or so coming back with valuable back-up experience, were one of the most productive units in the state last year, allowing just 9.9 points per game. They piled up four shutouts and were within one victory of a trip to the Class AA, Division I Lower State finals.

The entire team is feeding off the energy of that production as it enters an expectation-laden 2013.

“This is the best unit we’ve played with yet,” Bellamy, a senior, said. “Every single day during the summer, we had the whole team there. Guys weren’t missing days. Guys wanted to come and work hard.”

Jamie Snider knew well before his third campaign as coach was about to start that this year could turn into something special. And yes, that defense has quite a bit to do with it.

Bellamy, a safety, had 84 tackles and eight pass break-ups. Vereen tacked on 98 tackles, including 26 for loss, and 9.5 sacks. His linebacking mate, Quavon Bellamy, led the Lions with 121 tackles and also forced three fumbles.

Junior Levi Moody started at nose guard, a rare combination considering he led the offense with 1,221 yards rushing and 16 scores.

“I can promise you this – it’s hard to be good if you’re not good on defense,” Snider said. “There’s no secret to that. If you’re good on defense, it makes people try to do different things. That’s what you want to do. If a defense can dictate what an offense tries to do, that’s a big thing.”

More often than not, Loris’ defense was shutting down opponents, an effort that led to forcing those offenses into uncomfortable situations. The team was accomplishing that even better during region play. The team’s only loss there came to Dillon in Week 9.

The Tigers, the Class AA, Division I state champions last season, are expected to be loaded again. But it was clear the gap between the two schools wasn’t that large. Loris lost the first game 21-14 before again falling 21-7 to the Tigers in the third round of the playoffs.

“I think we gained some respect last year,” Snider said. “Ultimately, the difference in both Dillon games, Dillon found ways to make more plays in the second half. Our big thing this year is consistency. You can’t foretell the future or injuries, but it’s about being consistent. And not just when you play Dillon – you can’t just beat Dillon and think you’re going to have a big season.”

Snider, who has won just shy of three-quarters of his games in his first two seasons at Loris, should be able to continue that trend. He set up preseason scrimmages against Carolina Forest and Socastee before the Lions face off against Myrtle Beach in the CNB Kickoff Classic on Friday.

And even though those games against high-powered offenses from bigger classifications could be considered a good measuring stick for how much better this defense can be, Snider doesn’t want anyone getting ahead of themselves. As much as he understands expectations associated with his sheer number of returning players, he maintains he’s taking the same approach as he did 12 months ago.

“What, was I not trying to win as a head coach or our assistants not coaching as hard the last couple years?” he said. “We’re trying to be successful and put our kids in the best situation to win.”

Contact IAN GUERIN at ian@ianguerin.com.

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