The Loris Lions learned their reorganized region in 2016 is going to be a little tougher than old Region VIII-2A.
With the addition of a fifth class in South Carolina this season, the Lions moved up to Class AAA and added Georgetown and Lake City while losing Marion and Mullins in the new VI-AAA.
Lake City proved to be a formidable addition Friday night.
The Panthers held Loris to four first downs in a 28-0 shutout at Heniford Field in the region opener for both teams.
“That’s a heck of a football team over there and they did a great job,” said Loris head coach Jamie Snider, whose team dropped to 2-4. “I mean, they have a lot of talent and a lot of ability. Hats off to them and what they were able to do.”
The Lions were held to 61 yards of total offense and Lake City sacked quarterback Clay Faircloth seven times.
“We couldn’t get anything going on offense and really struggled there,” Snider said. “It was just kind of one of those nights. Right now for us it’s kind of back to the drawing board and we’ve got to get a lot better on offense.”
We couldn’t get anything going on offense and really struggled there. It was just kind of one of those nights. Right now for us it’s kind of back to the drawing board and we’ve got to get a lot better on offense.
Loris head coach Jamie Snider
The Panthers recorded their second consecutive shutout after blanking Darlington two weeks ago, and handed the Lions consecutive shutouts for the first time since 2008. Loris was blanked by Carolina Forest 21-0 last week.
“Coach Jamison Estep, our defensive coordinator, nobody ever talks about him but he’s done an incredible job with our defense and we have to give him credit for this win right here,” Lake City head coach Terrell Fleming said.
The Panthers improved to 5-1, with their only loss to state power Hartsville.
Quarterback Chris Burnette completed 23 of 30 passes for 267 yards and four touchdown for the Panthers. Two touchdowns were caught by Tyshawn Baines, who had seven receptions for 70 yards.
Loris earned its initial first down of the game with 8:30 remaining in the second quarter, already trailing 16-0 at the time.
In his second start after missing two games with concussion issues, Faircloth completed 8 of 17 passes for 48 yards, and had an interception and the seven sacks.
The Lions began the game with a turnover, as Burnette fumbled the first offensive snap and the Lions recovered on the Lake City 26.
But Loris turned the ball over on downs, and the Panthers drove 74 yards to record the game’s first score. The drive was capped by a 22-yard touchdown reception by Baines, who was left alone in the left flat.
A Justin Clary sack of Faircloth in the end zone put Lake City up 9-0 early in the second quarter. The Panthers needed to drive only 38 yards on the ensuing possession and scored on a 19-yard reception by Vence Hanna, and added a 27-yard Molik Brown TD reception to take a 22-0 lead into halftime.
A serpentine 30-yard punt return by Bobby Gore with about a minute remaining in the second quarter gave Loris the ball at the Panthers 31 and the Lions achieved a first down at the 21, but a pair of holding penalties in the final 25 seconds of the half contributed to a stalled drive.
The only touchdown in the second half came early in the fourth quarter following a Melvon Cooper interception and 25-yard return to the Loris 5. That set up a 2-yard TD reception by Baines. Lake City was held to 20 yards rushing on 24 carries, not including a 9-yard loss on a sack.
“Defensively in the second half I thought we played really, really well. I was real pleased with that,” Snider said.
Lake City and Loris last played in the playoffs in 2010, with Lake City taking a 28-17 win.
“The good news is we’re playing schools our size,” Fleming said. “The bad news is we’re playing some good schools and good coaches, so we’ll have to play our best.”
The road doesn’t get any easier for Loris, as it hosts four-time reigning Class AA state champion Dillon next week.
LC – Tyshawn Baines 22 pass from Chris Burnette (Keenan Graham kick)
LC – Safety, Justin Clary sack of Clay Faircloth
LC – Vence Hanna 19 pass from Burnette (Graham kick)
LC – Molik Brown 27 pass from Burnette (kick failed)
LC – Baines 2 pass from Burnette (pass failed)
Rushing: Lake City: Baines 14-32. Loris: Tevin Livingston 8-31.
Passing: Lake City: Burnette 23-30-0–267; Loris: Faircloth 8-17-1–48.
Receiving: Lake City: Baines 7-70, Jalen Barr 8-60, Vence Hanna 3-59. Loris: Travis Walters 3-21.