Nation Ford quarterback Cole Martin and receivers Jordan Helms and Hank Tuipulotu led the Falcons as they rallied past Lugoff-Elgin 21-14 Friday night.
Both teams came in the game 0-2, with the Demons falling to Fort Mill last week and Nation Ford falling to Boiling Springs.
Martin hit Tuipulotu with about two minutes left in the game on a 20-yard touchdown pass – their second TD connection of the game – as the Falcons reclaimed the lead. Martin and Tuipulotu also converted on the two-point conversion.
The drive was an eight-play, 74-yard march that saw Helms come up big for Nation Ford. Helms caught 10 passes for 82 yards in the game. Tuipulotu caught eight passes for 138 yards.
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“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 Stinnett came up with his second interception of the game to stall a potential game-tying drive for Lugoff-Elgin with under a minute in the game.
Martin was picked off with about eight minutes in the game, which allowed Lugoff-Elgin to start clipping off yardage and time on the clock. The Demons got a big 34-yard run from sophomore Rahmel Burton to put them at the Falcons’ 10 before senior quarterback Keyshawn Martin ran the ball in on the next play to give Lugoff-Elgin the lead 14-13.
The Falcons took their time moving the ball to open the third quarter, starting at the 11-yard-line.
The Falcons moved the ball on the ground and through the air as Martin hit Tuipulotu on a big 21-yard pass, putting Nation Ford into the red zone. Martin then ran the ball to the six yard line and took a massive hit but still got the first down.
Martin hit senior Ervin Lassiter for an eight-yard touchdown pass to put Nation Ford up 13-7 two plays later. Martin went 6 for 6 on the 13-play drive. to cap off a 13-play drive for the Falcons.
Lugoff-Elgin’s sophomore Kedar Jennings had a big 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 two-yard run by Jennings to put the ball within the red zone.
However, the Falcons defense made its biggest stop of the game at that point with 10:16 left in the game.
Two turnovers in the first half really stalled the Falcons’ momentum in the first half killing would be potential scoring drives.
Nation Ford turned the ball over at the one-yard line with a bad snap, giving the Demons the ball back at its own 16-yard line to open the second quarter.
The Demons took advantage of the mistake as Martin took off for a 20-yard run to get Lugoff-Elgin off on the right foot for the drive. Despite the big play, the Demons were forced to punt as the Falcons’ defense held its own.
Nation Ford struggled to move the ball on its first true drive of the second quarter, but Martin hit Tuipulotu for a 38-yard gain, moving the Falcons to the red zone. Martin tried to go to Tuipulotu one too many times on the drive as Lugoff-Elgin picked off a pass in the end zone.
The Demons again took advantage of the Falcons’ mistakes and moved the ball well with a big 13-yard run from Burton and a 10-yard pass to junior Gunner Catoe. Martin then hit Jennings on a 20-yard pass to put Lugoff-Elgin into the red zone for the first time all game.
Martin scrambled in on the next play to tie the game up with a 15-yard touchdown.
The Falcons defense was ready for the Demons running game and forced them to a three and out on its first series of the game.
The punt gave Nation Ford good field position at mid-field for the Falcons’ first series of the game. Martin then hit Helms and Tuipulotu on three consecutive plays, with the last one being a five-yard touchdown pass to Tuipulotu, putting Nation Ford on the board.
Lugoff-Elgin moved the ball better on its second series, picking up a couple of first downs, keeping the ball on the ground. The Demons went to the air as Martin hit senior Jordan King to set up another first down, which they got on a Martin keeper. However, Martin went to the air one to many times as Stinnett picked the ball off for Nation Ford killing the drive for the Demons.
Martin led the Falcons down the field as McClure moved the ball on the ground, while Martin spread the offense around through the air. Junior Josh Shade had a big run to end the first quarter putting Nation Ford to the six yard line of Lugoff-Elgin.