Nation Ford quarterback Cole Martin and receivers Jordan Helms and Hank Tuipulotu led the Falcons from behind to a 21-14 victory over the Lugoff-Elgin Demons for the team’s first win of the season.
Both teams came in the game 0-2 with the Demons falling to Fort Mill last week and Nation Ford losing to Boiling Springs.
Martin hit Tuipulotu with a 20-yard touchdown pass with about two minutes left in the game, connecting on their second touchdown of the night as the Falcons reclaimed the lead for good. Martin and Tuipulotu also connected for the two-point conversion.
The score completed an eight-play, 74-yard march in which Helms came up big for Nation Ford several times. It was a big night for Helms, who caught 10 passes for 82 yards in the game.
It was also a big night for Tuipulotu, who snagged eight passes for 138 yards, including the two scores.
“We shot ourselves in the leg offensively some,” said Falcons head coach Michael Allen. “But 100 years from now it’s not going to matter how many points you scored. At the end of the day, we got the win.”
Falcons defensive back Alex Stennett came up with his second interception of the game to stall a game-tying drive for Lugoff-Elgin with less than a minute in the game.
Martin was picked off midway through the first quarter and that allowed Lugoff-Elgin to start clipping off yardage and time on the clock while moving the ball. The Demons got a big 34-yard run from sophomore Rahmel Burton to put them at the Falcons’ 10-yard line before senior quarterback Keyshawn Martin ran the ball in on the next play to tie the game at 7-7.
Nation Ford took its time moving the ball to open the third quarter after starting at its 11-yard-line. The Falcons moved the ball both on the ground and through the air as Cole Martin hit Tuipulotu on a big 21-yard pass putting the team into the red zone. The Nation Ford quarterback then ran the ball and made a Tebow-type leap to the 6-yard line where took a massive hit, but gained a first down.
He then hit senior Ervin Lassiter for an 8-yard touchdown pass to put Nation Ford up 13-7 two plays later. Cole Martin was 6-6 passing on the drive to cap off a 13-play drive.
To answer Nation Ford, Lugoff-Elgin sophomore Kedar Jennings had a 21-yard run to push the Demons past midfield to lead the charge for the home team. The Demons got a big first down to start the fourth quarter on a 2-yard run by Jennings to put the ball within the red zone.
However, the Falcons’ defense made its biggest stop of the game with 10:16 left.
Two turnovers in the first half stalled the Falcons’ momentum, killing potential scoring drives. Nation Ford turned the ball over at the 1-yard line with a bad snap, giving the Demons the ball at their own 16-yard line to open the second quarter.
The Demons took advantage of the mistake as Keyshawn Martin took off for a 20-yard run to get Lugoff-Elgin on the right foot. Despite the big play, the Demons were forced to punt as the Falcons’ defense clamped own.
Early in the second quarter, Cole Martin hit Tuipulotu for a 38-yard gain moving the Falcons within scoring range. He tried to go to Tuipulotu one too many times on the drive, however, and the pass was picked off in the end zone.
The Demons again took advantage of the Falcons’ mistakes with a 13-yard run from Burton and a 10-yard pass to junior Gunner Catoe. Keyshawn Martin then hit Jennings on a 20-yard pass to put Lugoff-Elgin into the red zone for the first time all game.
The Lugoff-Elgin quarterback then scrambled in from 15 yards on the next play to tie the game.
The Falcons’ defense were ready for the Demons’ running game and forced them into a three and out on the first series of the game. The ensuing punt gave Nation Ford good field position at midfield for its first series of the game. Cole Martin hit Helms and Tuipulotu on a three-play drive that ended with a 5-yard touchdown pass to Tuipulotu to put Nation Ford on the board.
Lugoff-Elgin moved the ball better on its second series, picking up a couple of first downs while keeping the ball on the ground. The Demons then went to the air as Keyshawn Martin hit senior Jordan King to set up another first down. However, Martin was picked off by Stennett to kill the drive.
Given back the ball by his defense, Cole Martin led the Falcons down the field as running back Keshaun McClure moved the ball on the ground while Martin spread it around through the air. Junior Josh Shade had a big run to end the first quarter putting Nation Ford to the 6-yard line of Lugoff-Elgin, but the Falcons wouldn’t score again until the second half.
Nation Ford 21, Lugoff-Elgin 14
NF – Cole Martin to Hank Tuipulotu five-yard pass (Lexi Dressing kick)
LE – Keyshawn Martin 15-yard run (Greg Ruffner kick)
NF – Martin to Ervin Lassiter eight-yard pass (kick failed)
LE – Martin 10-yard run (Ruffner kick)
NF – Martin to Tuipulotu 20-yard pass (2-point conversion)