BISHOPVILLE - The Lee Central High School football team utilized its physical defensive play and stout running game to rout W.J. Keenan by the score of 42-16 on Friday at Stallion Stadium in a first-round game in the 2A state playoffs.
The defense for Lee Central only allowed one touchdown, as the Raiders' other points came from a special teams touchdown and a safety.
"I give credit to our defensive staff," said LC head coach Justin Danner, whose team improved to 10-1 on the season. "They did an exceptional job getting our guys ready to play today."
The Stallion defense was led by Shileake Albert with 11 tackles. DeAndre Oliver had eight stops while Deontae Lowery, Travis Hickson, Shykeem Cooper and Corey King each had five. jamonte Belin and Trey Robinson each had a quarterback sack.
Lee Central's rushing attack, which features numerous running backs, garnered a total of 334 yards on 39 carries, averaging 8.5 yards a carry.
The offense was led by Shamari Simon with 108 yards rushing and a touchdown. Demetrius Dubose added 119 yards rushing. Edward Benjamin, Owen Lewis and Mike Watters each had a rushing touchdown.
When asked what is the secret to his team's rushing attack, Danner said, "We have a lot of different backs that all bring different things. Our offensive line is a huge part as well."
Lee Central received the opening kickoff and started at its 42-yard line. The Stallions established their run game early by marching down the field into the end zone on an all running 8-play, 58-yard scoring drive for a 7-0 lead with 8:36 left in the first quarter.
The Stallions stopped the Raiders on defense, forcing them to punt the ball. On the next drive, the Stallions found the end zone again with a 26-yard run from Benjamin.
After appearing to be stopped again, the Raiders got into the end zone off of a fake punt direct snap to quarterback Alajawaun Robinson, who went 65 yards to cut Lee Central's lead to 14-7 with 26 seconds left in the first quarter. Lee Central's special teams redeemed itself instantly when wide receiver Dayrice Austin returned the ensuing kickoff 83 yards for a touchdown to give his team a 21-7 through the first quarter.
After being pinned at its 1-yard line, Lee Central gave up a safety, making the score 21-9 with 9:52 left in the second quarter.
The Stallions settled down, however, and scored on a 61-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Ti'jaun Durant to wide receiver Ontavious Jackson. A 15-yard rushing touchdown gave them a stout 35-9 lead at halftime.
The second half was more of the same as Lee Central stood behind its intimidating defense and unstoppable rushing attack. An all rushing 7-play, 56-yard scoring drive finished the Stallions' scoring on the night.
The Stallions will play host to the Sabres of Southside Christian on Friday at 7:30 p.m.
"No matter what, it's going to be tough coming through here next week," Danner said of the upcoming contest.