It wasn’t pretty, but Loris was able to take advantage of some early mistakes then hold off a late surge to top St. James 9-8 on Friday night at Heniford Field in the season opener for both teams.
Loris held on to a 9-0 edge at halftime before St. James able to get the ball moving effectively.
The Sharks took the ball over on downs late in the third quarter and built a 11-play, 70-yard drive that included a pair of fourth-down conversions and glimpses of a direct snap offense featuring two-way starter Austin Adams.
The drive ended when Josh Roper hit Brooks Hurston from 31 yards.
Roper hit a sliding Tyus Goodman for the 2-point conversion to cut the lead to a point with 8:54 left in the game.
The Lions’ offense couldn’t find much traction in the rain-soaked turf after the Sharks’ score, going four-and-out on the next two possessions, but any chance St. James had to take a lead fell apart with a botched toss sweep and a fumbled snap on fourth down to give the ball back to the Lions for good.
Neither team was effective moving the ball. Loris gained just 105 yards, paced by Ryan Bellamy, who carried 11 times for 53 yards. Lions quarterback Mickel Soles was 4-for-13 passing for 43 yards and a score.
St. James had 138 yards of offense behind quarterback Josh Roper, who was 10-for-20 passing for 95 yards and a touchdown.
Austin Adams rushed for 46 yards on 15 carries and added seven total tackles in the loss.
The Lions took early advantage of miscues by the Sharks.
After a high snap on a 3-and-7 play and an incomplete pass on fourth down stalled a promising St. James drive, the Sharks were hit with a facemask penalty, Bellamy and Soles shared carries to drive Loris down to the St. James’ 27.
Bellamy hit Shammond Jackson with a screen pass to the left, Jackson broke what would have been a tackle for a short loss then sprinted in for the game’s first points with 2:10 to play in the first quarter.
The Lions scored again in the second quarter, getting a 28-yard field goal from Orlin Mejia with 4:31 left in the first half that was set up when bad snap on a punt gave Loris the ball on the Sharks’ 9.
LOR-Mickel Soles 28 pass to Shammond Jackson (kick blocked) 2:10
LOR-Orlin Mejia 28 FG
STJ-Josh Roper 31 pass to Brooks Hurston (conversion good)
RUSHING—St. James-Austin Adams 15-46; Roper 8-12; Tyus Goodman 6-9; Champelle Mose 3-4; Brooks Hurston 1- -9. Loris: Soles 12-12; Ryan Bellamy 11-53; Stacy Dozier 2-2; Levi Moody 2-6; Siegfried Long 2-0.
PASSING—St. James-Roper 10-20-95 0. Loris: Soles 4-13-27 0.
RECEIVING—St. James: Hurston 3-40; Goodman 2-16; Dakota Holmes 2-12; Tre McCullum 2-17; Adams 1-10. Loris-Jackson 3-28; Long 1-15.