LAKE CITY, S.C. – A 21-point outburst by Lake City in the second quarter prompted Jody Jenerette to have a serious conversation with his West Florence squad at halftime of Friday’s game.
“We had a little heart-to-heart in the locker room and I think it helped,” Jenerette said. “It kind of opened some guys' eyes as to what we need to do here.”
The Knights responded – allowing just one more score in the second half as they used a couple of big plays throughout the game to pull away from the Panthers for a 42-29 victory at Ward Memorial Stadium.
West is now 3-0 and will likely face its biggest challenge of the season next week on the road at Camden. Lake City fell to 1-2 and will hit the road next Friday as well for a matchup with Manning at Ramsey Stadium.
Jenerette was grateful for the victory, but still wants to see a more consistent four quarters from his team moving forward – and a better week of practice leading into Fridays.
“We sputtered all night and I knew we would,” he said. “We didn’t have a good week of practice. We whined and complained and felt like we were great and we’re not. Give Lake City a lot of credit because they’re fast and athletic and so well-coached. Ronnie (Baker) is going to do a great job here.”
The Knights actually got out to a good start in the first quarter. George Floyd ran the ball in from 2 yards out and Terry McKithen broke a 58-yard run to put West up 15-0.
The second quarter was a different story as a couple of untimely WFHS turnovers shifted the momentum. Shelton Burgess got things started for Lake City with a 50-yard TD run that came one play after Floyd was intercepted on his first pass attempt of the game.
The Knights fumbled on their ensuing possession and Panthers quarterback Hilshon Bailey made them pay by finding K.J. Rose for a 33-yard strike. He added a 43-pass to Shamontae Burgess later in the quarter as LCHS roared back.
West was only able to keep the lead at halftime thanks to Floyd’s second TD run of the night and a scoop-and-score on a fumble by Chase Cattenhead.
“We knew if we could just execute on offense and make plays that we could get back into the ballgame,” Baker said. “But at the same time, big plays still came back to haunt us.”
West’s defense tightened up in the second half, a despite a couple of pass interference calls, they took a 28-21 lead into the fourth quarter.
McKithen then scrambled for a 54-yard score with 7:49 remaining and Floyd all-but put the game away with a 16-yard pass to Pate Marlowe in the end zone not long after the Knights picked off Bailey for the second time.
McKithen finished with 20 rushes for 168 yards and the two scores as he and Floyd combined for 283 yards of total offense.
“We told our kids that’s the key,” Baker said. “We cannot give up big plays and make things easy for a team that’s as talented as West Florence, and we just didn’t execute that in the first quarter or the last.”
The Knights also registered five sacks while Leonard Marston came away with two picks.
Bailey threw for 143 yards and two scores for the Panthers with 79 of those yards coming from Rose.
WF 15 13 0 14 – 42
LC 0 21 0 8 – 29
WF – George Floyd 2 run (Seth Giordano pass to Pate Marlowe), 8:06.
WF – Terry McKithen 58 run (Steven Snell kick), 2:09.
LC – Shelton Burgess 50 run (Furman Lopez kick), 8:59.
LC – KJ Rose 33 pass from Hilshon Bailey (Lopez kick), 7:36.
WF – Floyd 26 run (Snell kick failed), 5:57.
WF – Chase Cattenhead 15 fumble return (Snell kick), 3:33.
LC – Shamontae Burgess 43 pass from Bailey (Lopez kick), 1:46.
WF – McKithen 54 run (Snell kick), 7:49.
WF – Marlowe 16 pass from Floyd (Snell kick,) 4:29.
LC – ShaQuan Epps 11 run (Bailey run), 2:05.
RUSHING – WF: Terry McKithen 20-168, 2 TDs; George Floyd 22-81, 2 TDs; Nyke Johnson 3-17. LC: Shelton Burgess 15-73, TD; Hilshon Bailey 13-23; Cleadius Alson 7-19, ShaQuan Epps 1-11, TD.
PASSING – WF: George Floyd 2-3-34, TD, INT. LC: Hilshon Bailey 7-15-143, 2 TDs, 2 INTs.
RECEIVING – WF: Wyatt Emerson 1-18; Pate Marlowe 1-16, TD. LC: K.J. Rose 4-79, TD; Shamontae Burgess 1-43, TD; Daimen Wilson 2-21.