With a generous dose of powerful running and a pinch of resolve, Loris stormed out to an early lead and answered the call when challenged in the second half to pull away from Green Sea Floyds for a 42-14 win Friday night at Heniford Field.
Loris (3-1) cranked out over 400 yards of total offense - 352 yards on the ground - including a 16-carry, 103-yard effort from R.J. Brown, three first half touchdowns from Denzel Strayhorne and two scores in the second half from Fred Bryant to overcome nearly 100 yards in penalties.
"We've done a pretty good job [with penalties] the last two [games], but tonight we took a step back penaltywise. We had probably 10 or so and at the most inopportune times, personal fouls and that type of stuff to keep drives alive," Lions coach Jimmy Longerbeam said.
But Loris was able to overcome those flags with relative ease most of the night. After scoring on a 1-yard run from Strayhorne on its first possession, Loris recovered a Rashan Bessant fumble on the kickoff return, giving the Lions first-and-10 at the Trojans 20.
Brown sprinted to the end zone from there, but a holding flag brought the play back. Strayhorne charged in from 28 yards out on the next play.
After a Trojans drive was cut short when Quincy Brown picked off quarterback Holden Clark in the endzone, Strayhorne broke free on a 76-yard run to the Green Sea Floyds 4-yard line, but that play, too, was called back for holding. Loris was able to sustain the drive and Strayhorne scored his third TD of the night while dragging a handful of Trojan defenders into the endzone.
The Trojans (2-2) came back in the third quarter when Clark found tight end Hunter Floyd with a 5-yard scoring pass, and after Damion King stripped the ball away from Brown at the Green Sea Floyds 45-yard line and returned it to the Lions' 10, Clark hit King on a screen pass from 5-yards out to cut the lead to 20-14.
But the Lions didn't flinch.
Loris answered with a four-play, 61-yard drive capped when Bryant broke around the right end, up the sideline, then cut back into the middle for a 38-yard touchdown, and after a Trojans punt, Kentrez Hilton capped a 3-play, 65-yard drive that included a 28-yard completion to Phillip Johnson and a personal foul against Green Sea Floyds with a touchdown pass to Dominique Richburg.
Green Sea Floyds went on the move again, but turned the ball over on downs at the Lions' 13, setting up another long drive that at up much of the fourth quarter before Bryant carried in from the 3 to close out scoring and get Loris back on a winning track after last week's gut-wrenching loss to South Columbus (N.C.).
"It's nice because we haven't been able to do that very often here. Our kids played hard," Longerbeam said. "I was a afraid we'd have a little bit of a letdown because of how good the game was last week, but I thought our kids played hard. Now we've got a bye to get some kids healed and to get ready."
In addition to Brown's 100-plus-yard night, Strayhorne finished with 97 yards on 11 carries and Bryant had six carries for 61 yards.
"We felt all along that all three of those kids are very capable at running back, plus Kentrez at quarterback is another," Longerbeam said. "We've just got to keep finding a way to utilize our kids and to keep getting better."
Hilton was solid passing, going 3-for-5 for 75 yards and the score, while Clark, a sophomore, was 3-for-7 with a TD and an interception.