A few weeks back, Loris running back Levi Moody predicted a rematch with Dillon.
The sophomore and his teammates made sure Battery Creek wasn’t going to be the team to prevent that from happening. Dillon did its part, dismantling Lake Marion in the second round of the Class AA, Division I playoffs.
Meanwhile, Loris defeated Battery Creek 56-0, advancing to the Lower State semifinals against the Wildcats.
“Hopefully we’ll have a good game like the last time we played them,” junior Ryan Bellamy said. “We knew [Loris’ potential] from the get-go. We work hard, and everybody likes getting the job done.
“We didn’t expect the 56 [against Battery Creek]. But we played hard enough to win the game and shut them out.”
This is the first time since 2000 that Loris has advanced to the third round of the state playoffs. Granted, some of that was helped by the Lions’ pass through the first round. Class AA is in the second year of an all-inclusive playoff system that rewards the top teams with not only home-field advantage but also first-round postseason byes.
Loris proved it was a significantly better team than Battery Creek in the first-ever matchup between the two schools. The Dolphins could do little to stop Loris from scoring both on offense and special teams.
Battery Creek – which ended the year at 6-6 – recorded just two first downs before halftime, when the score was already in Loris’ favor. The icing on the cake was back-to-back scores off Battery Creek punts in the second quarter. On the first, Tyriese Jackson’s block landed right in the hands of teammate Joey Letts in the end zone. A few moments later, after forcing another punt, Bellamy returned it 41 yards for the score.
Following another short Loris drive and touchdown, the Lions (8-3) recorded their third special teams touchdown of the quarter when a fumbled kickoff was kicked into the end zone and recovered by Desmond Dozier.
In total, that run equated to 28 points in 4:08.
“That’s the beauty of playing at home,” Loris coach Jamie Snider said. “Sometimes those breaks go your way. And if you look at our last five, six games, we’ve had some big plays in special teams. That’s something we saw on film, and something we wanted to take advantage of.”
Bellamy then added another punt return for a score in the third quarter – just for good measure.
If nothing else, the bull rush of points was more than enough to qualify Loris for next week’s trip to Dillon. The Wildcats won the first meeting of the year 21-14 after a fourth-quarter touchdown put Dillon ahead for the first and final time.
This time around, the Lions will have to play the perennial Class AA power on the road, though, and Loris will surely need an effort similar to the one it put up Friday.
“It’s hard to beat someone twice,” Snider said of the rematch with Dillon (10-1). “But they also know we had the lead for most of the game. It should be a slugfest.”
L – Levi Moody 3 run (Orlin Mejia kick)
L – Jahare Stone 23 rec from Mickel Soles (Mejia kick)
L – Moody 8 run (Mejia kick)
L – Joey Letts blocked punt recovered in end zone (Mejia kick)
L – Ryan Bellamy 41 punt ret (Mejia kick)
L – Stone 7 rec from Soles (Mejia kick)
L – Desmond Dozier fumble recover (Mejia kick)
L – Bellamy 47 punt return (Mejia kick)