To some August is a hot, humid and miserable time of year. To others, August is celebrated as a holiday month because of football season starting. Yes, the start of football season brings the same joy to the heart as Christmas in some households. Lugoff-Elgin just competed in the Shrine Club Jamboree at Camden and their own MPCU Kick Off Classic Jamboree last Friday.
The Demons dominated North Central at Camden allowing several players down the depth chart to get playing time. In the MPCU Kick Off Classic at Lugoff-Elgin Stadium, the starters got more of a chance to hone their skills against 3A opponent Darlington Falcons in a close game which the Demons came from behind to win after leading early in the mini game. As time was winding down and LE down by a score, Darius Custard got fans on their feet as he returned a kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown. The ensuing two point conversion run by Forrest Koumas put the Demons up and sent the LE faithful home happy campers.
Offensively, the Demons have been tasked with finding another group of lineman to replace a graduating class that has seen two members continue their career in college (Nate Lark at Newberry and Jared Singleton at Wofford). Seniors Johnathan McManus, Justin Stevens and Tyler Humpheries will be moving into new roles on the OL.
While the line seems to be playing well and improving with every opportunity against opponents, the skill players look solid. Forrest Koumas returns in his senior season in his role as quarterback and team leader. We saw a glimpse of what sophomore running back (#26) Malik Young could do last year in the playoffs at J. L. Mann as he'll move into the starting role this year. E. J. Ruiz will be wearing #12 this season and will supplement Young in the backfield. Seniors Darius Custard (#2) and Julian Baxter (#17) will see action on both sides of the ball this season as wide receivers and in the secondary. You'll see Baxter get plenty of touches on offense as he'll also get the handoff from Koumas after going in motion. Stephen Bonaparte (#44) will also see some playing time at fullback as well as his familiar role as linebacker. A role he had at Lugoff-Elgin Middle School.
Defensively is where Lugoff-Elgin seems strongest this season. The secondary of #6 Anthony Myers, #21 Devonte Alexander, #17 Julian Baxter will keep close tabs on opposing receivers. Josh Miranda (#58) has moved into the nose guard spot while Trey Poston (#35) has slid over to a defensive line spot. Linebackers will be Bonaparte, Custard, Jahred Palmer (#30), Zach Connell (#42) and Matt Ward (#43).
Lugoff-Elgin will be competing in Region 3 in class 3A again this year with Lower Richland, Chapin, Fairfield Central and Chester. Chester has competed in the state championship game the last two years and are ranked #1 in some preseason polls. With that pre season ranking, several coaches and media members also think the Cyclones will winn the region with everyone else competing for second place.
Chapin has a new coach in Scott Early this season. Early guided Myrtle Beach to the 3A championship last season and has a young crop of talent with his new team. One thing he has said many times is that he's trying to change the attitude of his new players that they need to expect to win everytime they step on the field.
Fairfield Central graduated McKendrix Thompson, whose now playing minor
league baseball. The Griffins are always a very athletic team and we wouldn't really expect anything less of them this year.
Lower Richland has several athletes and gave LE a tough game last year where the Demons prevailed, 17-7 at the Diamonds' homecoming.
Optimism always exudes from teams at the beginning of the season and LE is nodifferent. It will be interesting to see how our region sorts out and where we'll place in preparation for the state playoffs, the last year of competing in 3A before we move to 4A next year. Friday, the Demons open the season at home against the White Knoll Timeberwolves. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 so come on out to Lugoff-Elgin Stadium. Be prepared to have a great time and watch a great football game. All of your friends will be there.