Scott Jones hopes to never again endure another football season like the one Lugoff-Elgin went through in 2011.
A wave of injuries ruined the goals of a senior-dominated team that was coming off a second-place showing in its first season in Class 4A. In the end, the Demons limped to a 2-9 record, went winless in conference play and missed the state playoffs for the second time since 1995.
It was the worst season at L-E in 18 years.
“We had 24 season-ending injuries,” said Jones, who is entering his 11th season at the L-E helm. “That’s an incredible number; I’ve never seen anything like it in all my years of coaching. We simply did not have the numbers to cover kind of loss. The injuries decimated our team and had an impact at every level in our program.”
Depth issues remain a concern this season, but inexperience is the overriding factor in assessing the Demons’ prospects this season as they move to Region 4-4A.
“We don’t have a lot of depth or returning experience, and we are not very big or very fast,” Jones said. “But the kids are working hard, and we’ve had our best camp in several years. I believe that if the kids keep at it the way they have so far, things will get better as the season goes on.”
The key veteran returnees include seniors Shon Belton, Derrick Miller, Joey Counts, Allen Jenerette, Jamey Vaughn, Zac Ruffalo and Adam Cassimjee.
Belton is back at quarterback, and Jones is tailoring the offense to fit his running skills.
“We’ll still operate out the shotgun most of the time, but we’ll be running the option a lot of Shon,” Jones said. “I think the pass game will come along, but right now we’re a running team.”
Miller will start at safety again on defense and also see considerable time in the offensive backfield. Counts and Jenerette are the other anchormen on defense at end and inside linebacker.
Vaughn, Ruffalo and Cassimjee are the seasoned hands on the offensive line.
Senior Robert Frame returns to handle the place-kicking chores.
Newcomers to watch are senior transfer Jarelle Hannah at running back and safety, sophomore receiver Daniel Quattlebaum, freshman cornerback Vincent Stevenson and freshman linebacker Malek Lyles.
The Demons open the season at Fort Mill on Friday and make their Region 4-4A debut on Oct. 5 at Richland Northeast.
The football team is rejoining the rest of the school’s athletics programs in 4-4A. The two-year stay in 6-4A was for football only.