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A case of extremes: After losing to 5A power Sumter, Gators take on struggling Hemingway

By DENNIS BRUNSON
dennis@theitem.com
Posted 9/19/19

It can be argued that the Lakewood High School football team will be going from one extreme to the other as far as scheduling goes.

The Gators are coming off of 61-0 loss to Sumter, which is ranked seventh in the state among 5A schools. The …

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A case of extremes: After losing to 5A power Sumter, Gators take on struggling Hemingway

Posted

It can be argued that the Lakewood High School football team will be going from one extreme to the other as far as scheduling goes.

The Gators are coming off of 61-0 loss to Sumter, which is ranked seventh in the state among 5A schools. The Gamecocks are 3-0 on the season and have outscored their foes 152-23.

On Friday, LHS will be traveling to Williamsburg County to meet 1A Hemingway. The Tigers are winless in three games and have been outscored 133-6.

Despite the difference, Lakewood head coach Larry Cornelius is taking nothing for granted.

"I've always said it doesn't matter how many As (in classification) are by the name of by your opponent," said Cornelius, whose 4A Gators will bring a 1-3 record into the contest. "You can't discount the history of Hemingway, the athletes they've had come through there over the years. We've got to come out and be ready to play."

Hemingway does have a rich tradition, having reached the semifinals last season. The Tigers' losses this season have been 54-0 to 1A power Lamar, 53-0 to 2A Andrews and 26-6 to 2A Carvers Bay.

Cornelius has watched film on each of Hemingway's games, and he's noticed a trend.

"They've struggled, but they're getting better from week to week," Cornelius said. "You can see the improvement."

The Gators were coming off their first win of the season, 33-14 over Manning, before running into Sumter. Cornelius said that outing has been set aside.

"It's in the past," Cornelius said. "We didn't dwell on it. We looked at the film to see the corrections we needed to. We've had a good two days (Monday and Tuesday) of practice, and we're getting ready for Hemingway."

LHS only trailed Sumter 7-0 after one quarter with the Gamecocks scoring with just eight seconds remaining in the quarter. However, SHS blocked a punt early in the second quarter that set it up at the Lakewood 1-yard line. It quickly scored and the game got out of hand quickly with Sumter leading 40-0 at halftime.

Cornelius said the Gators need to have a better performance offensively this week.

"We got a couple of first downs early (on the first drive), and then we couldn't move the ball," he said. "We wasted some good defensive play early in the game. We've got to pick it up on offense."

What Cornelius is more concerned with, however, is how his players approach the game.

"(I'm concerned about our) mentality," Cornelius said. "We've got to move on past last week's game.

"This game is huge for us," he added. "Of course, we need to win, but how we play is important too. If we go out and play well, we can have some fun. If we don't, it could be pretty tough."

Cornelius is hoping a big victory followed by a bye week before starting play in Region IV-4A will give the Gators a wave of momentum to ride.