The Carolina Forest football team was trying to get back on the right track Friday, a week removed from a 56-6 loss to Goose Creek.
It didn’t go as planned.
The Panthers struggled on offense and made some mistakes on special teams, and South Florence took advantage of those mistakes en route to a 32-13 win over Carolina Forest.
“Offensively we played our worst game all year,” Panthers coach Drew Hummel said. “… We didn’t play good in any aspect on offense and you’re not going to win a football game giving up 14 special teams points. We knew it was going to come down to the fourth quarter and we just let it get away with the special teams. Offensively, I’m shocked that we played this poorly.”
However, Hummel had nothing but praise for the way his team played on the defensive side of the ball.
“I thought the defense played great. Defensively, we held them 18 points,” Hummel said. “… [South Florence] just got a couple of big plays, but I thought defensively [we] played an outstanding football game. [We are] getting better and better every week, which is what we’re looking for.”
Carolina Forest started the game by giving up a big kickoff return that Tabari Hines retuned for a touchdown that gave South Florence a 6-0 advantage in the first quarter.
Things were looking good for Carolina Forest after halfback Harold Atkinson tossed a 14-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Yurachek with 1:19 left in the first quarter, which gave the Panthers a 7-6 lead, but it was their only advantage of the game.
Jamall Cain scored on a 40-yard rush play with 5:06 left in the second quarter to give the Bruins a 12-7 lead.
Carolina Forest wouldn’t score again until the fourth quarter when Will Brunson completed an 18-yard pass to Yurachek, but the game was far out of reach by then.
With the loss, the Panthers fell to 1-7 overall, and 0-1 in Region VI-AAAA play.
“We just have to go back to work and we have to keep fighting,” Hummel said. “We’re still in this thing. Everybody has about one loss in the region now so we have to win at least two out of three to get in there. So we just have to go back to work and get things cleaned up.”
Hummel thinks his team needs to execute better on offense in order to be successful the rest of the season.
“Yeah, we’re a young football team but at some point it has to be manned up and we have to get the job done,” Hummel said. “The basic thing tonight was we got whooped up front. We couldn’t get our reads in the pass game, [Brunson] was on the run all night. We played a great game defensively tonight and it’s a shame that we wasted that opportunity.”
The Panthers’ next opportunity is when they host Sumter in another Region VI-AAAA game next Friday at 7:30 p.m.
“Sumter is a good football team. They have great athletes as they always do,” Hummel said. “Sumter has been one of those teams that’s been up-and-down. One week they’ll look good and the next week they won’t look as well. They’re struggling to put consistency together, and that’s what we got to do, we have to play a consistent football game. We can’t have stretches where we play really well and have a five-minute lapse that buries us.”