Wildcats outgain Vikings 281-239, but special team’s errors and turnovers doom Lexington effort
Lexington, SC (James Bowers) - It was a bittersweet night at the corner of Augusta Highway and Pisgah Church Road on Friday. While Lexington High School crowned a new homecoming queen, their football squad was unable to produce a victory, falling by a score of 21-14 to the Vikings of Spring Valley. Perry Woolbright’s boys fell behind early by a 14-0 count in the first quarter, and although they went on to outgain their Northeast Columbia foes with 281 yards against SV’s 239, a couple of deadly turnovers in the fourth quarter, coupled with their inability to punch it into the end zone, made the night a losing one for the homestanding ‘Cats.
After the first Lexington possession ended in a punt and gave Spring Valley the ball at their own 17, SVHS RB Adrian Ross took it to the farm from 83 yards away to give the visiting Vikings a 7-0 lead with 10:11 to play in the first. An interception thrown by Lexington QB Cal Herndon on the ensuing Wildcat drive gave Spring Valley the ball at the Cat 27. Two plays later,a 21-yard Marquel Brown score made it 14-0 in favor of SV. Wildcat RB Akeem Nicholas gave Lexington some much needed offensive momentum on their next drive, with several profitable runs including a 48-yard jaunt that set up a subsequent Jordan Hiller touchdown for the Cats to make it a 14-7 affair. A turnover on downs by SV enthused the Wildcat partisans, but Herndon and company were unable to add another score for the rest of the half. The Viking offense was similarly fruitless and Spring Valley carried a 14-7 lead into the locker room.
Spring Valley’s Ross fumbled the football on the opening possession of the second half, with Lexington recovering at their own 26. A Lexington three-and-out was followed by a botched snap that forced Wildcat punter Tristan Allen to unsuccessfully attempt to run for a first down resulting in SV starting their next drive at the LHS 24. Isaiah Miller’s 10-yard touchdown run enabled the Vikings to capitalize on the turnover, extending their lead to 21-7. Another Akeem Nicholas heavy drive gave the Wildcats a chance to answer that score, and they did with Nicholas punching it in from a yard out to turn the game into a 21-14 affair with under five minutes to play in the third quarter. The Cats forced an SV punt, and Lexington fans were hoping the Cats could put together a comeback when they took over with 2:32 left in the 3rd quarter. The drive, however, ended in a punt early in the fourth. Spring Valley drove to the Wildcat 21, but a failure to convert on fourth down gave LHS another chance. Herndon threw another pick, and then the topsy-turvy nature of the game continued when Spring Valley’s Marquel Brown lost a fumble two plays later. Lexington would touch the football twice more in the final period, turning it over on downs, and suffering another interception. The Vikings were able to run the clock out, improving their record to 3-1. The Wildcats slip to 4-2 with the loss.
Despite their defeat, the Wildcats had some high points. Akeem Nicholas was just two yards shy of the 200-yard mark Friday night, and had a touchdown. QB Cal Herndon had 89 yards rushing to go with a 6 of 21 for 62 yard passing performance. Though Herndon threw three interceptions, Woolbright praised his signal caller for keeping his composure despite the mistakes. “He did good, he made some mistakes, but he never got rattled, and still kept his cool, and that’s what you want from your quarter back”. Woolbright said.
The Vikings were led by RB Adrian Ross, who had 152 yards and a score on the evening. S Kyle Fortner had two interceptions for Robin Bacon’s ballclub.
Lexington gets back underway against key rival White Knoll next week on the Timberwolves’ home turf. That kick is set for 7:30pm. Spring Valley will return home that night for a game against Irmo.