Lewisville’s offensive shape-shifting helped it stay alive in the 1A high school football playoffs last week.
In wet and nasty weather McCormick sold out defensively to stop the pass, so the Lions opted for a single-wing attack with Quentin Sanders toting the rock the 29 times for 173 yards and three touchdowns. Coach Will Mitchell’s offense has taken what it can get throughout the season, leading to an interesting statistical result: the Lions have rushed for 2,285 yards and thrown for 2,251.
Lewisville (9-3) doesn’t throw for 150 yards and rush for 150 yards every game. Some weeks it’s 300 rushing yards and 30 passing yards against defenses like McCormick’s, and other weeks that stat line is inverted.
Regardless, Lewisville might be the most offensively balanced team in 1A.
“It gives us a chance with different-type weather conditions,” said Mitchell. “We can do some things that some people can’t.”
One of the classification’s best offenses confronts one of its best defenses Friday in the third round of the 1A postseason, when Ridge Spring-Monetta (8-3) hosts the Lions. RSM, located midway between Columbia and Augusta, has allowed the second fewest points (97) in 1A and posted six shutouts, including three in a row. Last week’s 7-0 win over Timmonsville, in which the Trojans scored in the first quarter and forced Timmonsville turnovers twice in the red zone, was not an unusual performance.
“They’re trying to get there and let their defense win the game for them, trying to keep it like that,” said Mitchell. “Be opportunistic and fly around and get after the ball.”
Mitchell wondered Tuesday if a few big plays early in Friday’s game wouldn’t rattle the Trojan defense. Lewisville has been able to stagger opposing teams with big plays this year, including an 80-yard touchdown pass from Rhett Cox to Demetric Hardin on the first play of the 31-2 first round playoff win over Wagener-Salley.
The Lions have produced their fair share of highlights this season. Lewisville has 37 plays of 30 yards or more; 17 plays of 40 yards or more; seven plays of 50 yards or more; and five plays of 80 yards or more. Sanders, alone, has 15 plays of 30 yards or more. That total of 37 doesn’t count 10 more plays of 30 yards or more from the Lions’ special teams and defensive units.
Mitchell said his crew was lifted emotionally by beating McCormick in overtime. But on a night when it’s offense was steered in one direction, a defensive play ultimately won the contest. After Lewisville scored and converted its two-point conversion in OT, McCormick scored on its possession. On the two-point try, Cox and Chase Yoder strung out a sweep toward the edge, with Yoder snatching on to a leg to wrangle down the ball-carrier and move the Lions into the third round for the second straight year.