It took them a four-hour drive to get there, but Ridgeland-Hardeeville learned the same lesson so many others have after facing the Loris defense this year.
The Lions are allergic to giving up points.
Loris (9-2) held the Jaguars offense to under 100 total yards and to zero points in their 38-0 Region VIII-AA playoff victory.
"There’s a bunch of seniors over there and it means a lot to them," coach Jamie Snider said. "They love playing football. They love hitting and they love contact. That makes all the difference in the world."
The shutout was the fourth of the year for the Lions defense, and they set the tone on the third play of the game. The Jaguars (7-5) plowed into the line attempting to pick up a third-and-1, fumbled, and the Lions were in business after a Jordan Rockefeller recovery. The next possession ended in a similar fashion, but this time a Tyriese Jackson interception – Loris forced five turnovers.
"Any time in the playoffs you can get off to a fast start with the turnovers that makes a huge difference, and we were able to take advantage of it, minus some kicking miscues," Snider said.
On the other side of the ball, the Lions offense made sure to capitalize. Their trio of junior running back Stacy Dozier, Charoldric Williams and Levi Moody, racked up 267 yards on the ground.
Moody almost single-handedly made sure the Lions’ effort on defense didn’t go to waste. He scored touchdowns of 11 and 12 yards in the first quarter after each of the turnovers – the latter on a 4th-and-2 play.
But the night ended up going to Charoldric Williams, who scored three touchdowns in the third quarter alone, en route to a career high four TDs.
"I just play ball and I just run what I see," said Williams, who finished with 14 carries for 114 yards. "Basically it’s whoever gets rolling. [Levi] got rolling pretty good, but then he got hurt so I had to step up and take over the rest of the game."
Despite having their troubles on special teams – they failed on their first four conversion attempts and allowed several long returns – the Lions offense held the ball for a majority of the game.
Quarterback Bennett Winslow only completed six passes on 16 attempts, but he made them count, hitting senior Ryan Bellamy on several long shots down the field. The senior is a do-it-all player for the Lions, also coming down with two interceptions and returning kicks.
"He is a difference maker and he can change a game at any time," Snider said. "He’s great to have. He’s a heck of a player and I hate that he’s a senior."
With the win, Loris advances to take on Timberland on the road, which topped Aynor 42-0 Friday night. It’s a rematch from two years ago when Timberland went on to win the state title. Snider said he remembers that game well, and he’s excited to see what his team can do this time.
"It’s a road game and it’s a tough test," Snider said, "but we came out of this pretty healthy so hopefully we’ll have a good week of practice and see what we can do."
Note: Levi Moody left the game hobbling in the fourth quarter. Snider said it was a minor ankle injury, but he does not expect Moody to miss any time.
L - Levi Moody 11 run (run failed), 8:11
L - Moody 12 run (pass failed), 5:31
L - Charoldric Williams 30 run (pass failed), 4:30
L - Williams 3 run (kick failed), 11:05
L - Williams 4 run (Brian Alou kick), 4:34
L - Williams 8 run (Alou kick), 1:03
RUSHING— L- Charoldric Williams, 14-114-4; Levi Moody, 13-80-2; Stacy Dozier 7-53
PASSING—Bennett Winslow, 6-16-132-4
RECEIVING—Ryan Bellamy, 3-108