FLORENCE, S.C. – Jody Jenerette was hoping to use the bye week to fine-tune some things as West Florence looked to improve after its 2-0 start.
Along that same line, Ronnie Baker was eager for his Lake City squad to build on its first victory of the season with its scheduled matchup against Kingstree last Friday.
Hurricane Dorian threw a monkey wrench into both plans, however.
With school dismissed for the better part of last week, the Knights didn’t get on the field as much as Jenerette would have liked. Likewise, the Panthers and Jaguars were unable to work out a time their game could be played, essentially giving LCHS an unanticipated bye.
So both teams are aiming to re-establish their momentum Friday when they meet at Ward Memorial Stadium in Lake City at 7:30 p.m.
“We didn’t get the chance to take great advantage of the break like we wanted to, but 2-0 feels good,” Jenerette said. “But we’ve still got a lot of things we need to work on and a lot of things we need to get better at.”
The Knights have relied on a shut-down defense and a strong running attack through the first two games of the year – outscoring opponents 70-6 in the process.
Going forward, they will have to be much more multi-dimensional offensively, Jenerette said.
“We’ve got to get the ball to our wide receivers more, and we know that,” he said. “That’s what we’ve kind of been focused on that one day we had last week and this week in practice. We’re trying to get the ball to the edge a little bit better.
“With who we play, you can’t just line up and power (run) every snap.”
Even though it’s worked pretty well so far. WFHS had two of the top three rushers in the Pee Dee after Week One in quarterback George Floyd and running back Terry McKithen. Floyd has rushed for 263 yards and three scores while McKithen has 222 yards and four TDs.
“Their offensive line and their quarterback play have been really good, so it’s going to be a big challenge for us,” Baker said. “Defensively, we can’t give up the big play and we’ve got to be able do some things to disrupt their run game.”
That will likely fall to players like Khalil Fulton and Shane McKenzie. The duo has combined for 43 tackles this season and Fulton leads the team with three sacks.
After falling to Wilson 42-6 in the opener, the Panthers defense rebounded with a 28-8 outing against Lakewood the following week, and Baker expects that kind of improvement to continue.
“One thing I’ve seen from this team is they’re really bought into the preparation for games,” he said. “We’ve had really good practices and really good weight room sessions. What we saw from Week Zero against Wilson to Week One against Lakewood – we saw a team get rewarded for their hard work and their attention to detail.
“We feel like each time we get on the field and every time we get a chance to play we’re only going to get better and better.”
Offensively, Hilshon Bailey has already thrown for 187 yards and three scores for the Panthers while rushing for 78 more. Shamontae Burgess has seven catches for 122 yards and one of those scores.
“They’ve got a lot of speed, and it seems like a lot more than even what we saw last year out of them,” Jenerette said of LCHS’ offensive attack. “They get to ball to guys in space and they can really run.
“We haven’t seen anybody yet that can run by us, and their quarterback can really throw the ball. We’ve got to be ready.”
The Knights’ defense has been more than ready so far and has allowed just one score this season.
“They attack your offense at so many different angles,” Baker said. “They do a good job of swarming to the football.”