Demetrius Hemingway has waited his turn all season.
Because Loris has the luxury of a plethora of talented senior running backs, Hemingway had just a handful of carries during the regular season.
Now that the importance of the games has increased, so has Hemingway’s workload.
With Loris’ primary backs all playing significant roles on defense, the 5-foot-9, 180-pound senior was the featured back Friday night at Heniford Field and accounted for 262 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns.
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He rushed for 127 yards and a touchdown on nine carries and caught two passes for 135 yards and another score in a 42-0 win over Wade Hampton in the first round of the Class AA Division I playoffs.
“We were trying to find a way to kind of rest those guys a little bit more, and they needed it tonight,” Loris coach Jamie Snider said. “Demetrius had a great week of practice and stepped up and did a great job. He kind of waited his turn and responded very well.”
Loris (10-1), the runner-up to Dillon in Region VIII-AA, travels next week to Ridgeland Hardeeville (8-3) of Region V-AA in the second round.
Loris scored on its first three possessions to build a 21-0 halftime lead.
“We’re real happy with the way we came out and played,” Snider said. “I’m real happy about how hard our kids played and we came to play tonight. Most likely this will be the last home game for these seniors.”
In the first quarter, Desmond Dozier took a short pass to the right side against soft coverage from Ta’Jay Williams, quickly spun to the right around the defender and raced down the sideline for a 74-yard touchdown.
The Lions needed only six plays to drive 74 yards on their second possession, as Williams connected with Dozier for a 31-yard pass to the Wade Hampton 18 and scored two plays later on a 6-yard run around the left side after faking a handoff to Hemingway.
The Lions stuffed a quarterback sneak on fourth-and-1 at the Loris 25 on the Red Devils’ next possession and drove 75 yards in six plays, with the key plays a 58-yard screen pass to Hemingway and Levi Moody’s 4-yard touchdown run. Moody appeared surrounded in the backfield but reversed field and powered through attempted tackles for the score.
Wade Hampton (4-7) tried to surprise Loris on the game’s first possession, starting bruising 5-foot-11, 235-pound senior Israel Aiken at quarterback and running six consecutive quarterback draws from a shotgun formation.
It was somewhat successful, as the Red Devils converted a fourth down and gained 21 yards on the six plays, but Aiken twisted his ankle on the sixth run – an 8-yard gain – and though he returned to the game he did not return to the QB position.
Wade Hampton was thin at wide receiver due to injuries and disciplinary action entering the game and wanted to rely on the run Friday.
“What we wanted to establish was some mental toughness, just to get out there and physically just move the football. I think we accomplished that, just not enough,” said first-year Wade Hampton coach David Poinsett, whose team was 2-3 in its region.
Loris’ first two possessions of the second half ended in turnovers, as Williams threw an interception in the end zone looking for Dozier from the Wade Hampton 22, then fumbled on a run at the Wade Hampton 15.
Charoldric Williams’ second interception of the game on a deep pass ended Wade Hampton’s possession following the fumble. He intercepted a pass near the end zone with 2 seconds remaining in the first half, and Hakeem Jackson added a fourth-quarter interception for the Lions.
A 77-yard screen pass to Hemingway, who spun through a tackle en route to the end zone, gave Loris a 28-0 lead late in the third quarter. Marquel Bellamy made it 35-0 by returning a partially-blocked punt 45 yards for a score, and Hemingway added a 14-yard scoring run in the fourth quarter. Ta’Jay Williams completed 9 of 11 passes for 269 yards for the Lions.
The shutout was apparently important to the Lions, whose defensive starters reentered the game when Wade Hampton reached the Loris 30-yard line with about 2:30 to play.
Scoring was apparently important to the Red Devils, who attempted a 43-yard field goal with 12 seconds remaining that came up just short.
L – Ta’Jay Williams 6 run (Bryan Ayala kick)
L – Williams 6 run (Ayala kick)
L – Levi Moody 4 run (Ayala kick)
L –Demetrius Hemingway 77 pass from Williams (Ayala kick)
L – Marquel Bellamy 45 blocked punt return (Ayala kick)
L – Hemingway 14 run (Ayala kick
WH: Jon Fair 27-118, Bryson Butts 17-50, Israel Aiken 7-23. Loris: Demetrius Hemingway 9-127, Stacy Dozier 4-25, Ta’Jay Williams 5-6, Levi Moody 2-8.
WH: Butts 2-9-3--9. Home: Williams 9-11-1--269.
Loris: Hemingway 2-135, Desmond Dozier 2-105, Junior Long 3-21, Marquel Bellamy 3-29.