FLORENCE, S.C. – Daryl King has preached overcoming adversity to his Lake View squad all season.
“The kids have done a great, great job of just going out there and not really caring what the situation is – they just know we have to work,” King said.
The Wild Gators (3-0) have dealt with weather-related adversity as their second game of the season was pushed back to Tuesday of last week and Friday night’s regularly scheduled contest was subsequently postponed until Monday.
Now they’ll face a different kind of adversity in the form of county rival and Class 3A powerhouse Dillon (2-0) as the two square off at 7 p.m. at Jewell McLaurin Field in Lake View.
“A lot of people don’t realize that’s the oldest rivalry in South Carolina high school football history,” Wildcats coach Jackie Hayes said. “It’s been going since the 1920s. We’re in the same school district now, and pretty much everybody knows everybody. You can throw out whatever is going on and it’ll be a hard-hitting affair.”
That being said, Dillon leads the all-time series 48-15 over its Class A rival. LVHS’ last victory in the series came in 1997 by a 27-26 score.
It will be another tall challenge this year for the Wild Gators as DHS has outscored opponents 91-0 through two games.
“You watch film on them and you don’t see any weaknesses,” King said. “Maybe the water boy doesn’t get the water out there fast enough – that might be the only thing you see wrong. They haven’t given up any points, and I think we counted that they might have given up five first downs the whole year.”
It’s been a combination of a shutdown defense and a multi-faceted offense once again driving the Wildcats. Quarterback Jay Lester has thrown for 325 yards and three scores – with two going to Ahmari Huggins-Bruce – while Nigel George and Nemo Squire have combined for seven rushing touchdowns.
“They have a great quarterback, two dynamic running backs and receivers that can beat you down field or beat you in space,” King said. “We preach fundamental football and playing your position. I’m not saying we’ll be able to stop them, but I want us to be in the right place to be able to stop them.
“And offensively, we’ve just got to move the ball. We’ve got be able to establish some type of a run game.”
The run game has served the Wild Gators well as they have outscored opponents 116-32 through three contests. Quarterback Adarrian Dawkins and running back Ja’Correus Ford have combined for 650 yards rushing and eight TDs with Michael McInnis added another 200 yards and three scores.
“The quarterback’s a good player and they’ve got some good running backs,” Hayes said. “We’re going to have to keep him under control and keep him from making big plays.
“It’ll come down to offensive and defensive line play and whoever can control that is going to have a good chance to win.”