As the weather cleared, the Lexington High football team’s offense found its footing.
Hosting Carolina Forest in a newly-renovated stadium on Friday night, the Class 4A No. 10 Wildcats scored four touchdowns in less than seven minutes in the second quarter to run away with a 41-21 win.
A rain-soaked first quarter was played at the pace the Panthers (3-2) seem to favor and on their side of the field. But the visiting offense could only wring so much out of tailback Dyverse Simmons (121 rushing yards, two touchdowns), and eventually star-studded attack for Lexington (3-1), led by quarterback Brandon Blake and tailback Slade Carroll, got on track.
Wildcats coach Josh Stepp honed in on one particular spot where things were not in sync early.
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“We started slow, and I think a lot of it had to do with lack of focus from our kids,” Stepp said. “But they got it back together, played really well there toward the end of the first quarter, all through the second quarter, so really proud of how they responded.”
He added the work in the third was not up to snuff, as Carolina Forest hung around and turned it into a battle of punts.
That said, Lexington still controlled the game throughout and had the bench emptying onto the soggy field by the fourth quarter.
Lexington defensive lineman Matthew Boring’s interception of a middle screen inside the Carolina Forest 10-yard line in the second quarter. The play set up the second Lexington touchdown in a 2-minute span and keyed a 27-0 run.
Slade Carroll: The Lexington tailback took a while to get going, but he ignited with three scores across six carries to end the second quarter. He finished with 144 yards on 16 carries, including a 53-yard scamper, and scored three times.
Brandon Blake: His passing numbers (7-for-16, 58 yards) were dragged down by a sluggish third quarter, but the leader of the Wildcats offense made his mark. He opened the Lexington scoring with a 23-yard touchdown pass and added 63 yards and a score on six carries.
9: The first nine runs for Lexington traveled fewer than 10 yards. The Wildcats had five 10-plus yard runs by halftime, helping ignite their offense. They finished with 249 yards on 31 carries.
74: That was how far Carolina Forest’s final drive went, somewhat equalizing the final yardage totals.
THEY SAID IT
“We felt like we were in control of the game most of the first, probably quarter and a half. We had the ball in our end, we kept the ball in our end. … We’ve got a lot of learning to do.” – Marc Morris, Carolina Forest head coach
“We just weren’t executing. We were going out, just not executing our assignments. We started getting together and got into a rhythm and it helped us out” – Brandon Blake, Lexington QB, on shaking off slow start
HOW THEY SCORED
CF – Simmon 22 run (Kane kick), 8:16
L – Hopper 23 pass from Blake (Kinsley kick) , 6:52
L – Carroll 30 run (Kinsley kick), 4:57
L – Carroll 6 run (kick failed), 3:24
L – Carroll 12 run (Kinsley kick), 43.2
CF – Simmon 5 run (Kane kick), 10:49
L – Blake 3 run (Kinsley kick), 9:52
L – Baker 32 run (Kinsley kick), 11:15
CF – Stone 5 run (Kane kick), 28.7
Rushing: CF: Simmons 21-121, Beale 11-10, Stone 18-96, Lynch 1-(-1), Leonard 1-2. Totals: 52-228; L: Carroll 16-144, Blake 6-63, Green 4-(-1), Baker 2-26, Davis 2-9, Jacobs 1-2, TEAM 1-3. Total: 31-249.
Passing: CF: Beale 5-18-2-17, Leonard 2-4-0-23. Totals: 7-22-2-40; L: Blake 7-16-0-58, Baker 1-1-0-21. Totals: 8-17-0-79.
Receiving: CF: Lynch 2-10, Woods 2-(-1), Garrell 1-13, McDowell 1-10, Elko 1-8. L: Hopper 3-46, Graves 1-(-1), Rumph 1-21, Wells 1-12, Shadewald 1-5.