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Falcons edge Bruins, 14-7

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By Robert Howey

The game wasn’t a thing of football beauty, but Nation Ford coach Michael Allen was all for the taking.

He had to be.

The Falcons, at Lancaster Memorial Stadium on Friday night, were in quest of their first win on the season and they went home victors with a tough 14-7 non-region win.

“It’s a ‘W,’ ” said Allen after addressing his Falcons’ team.

All the scoring came in the first half as the Falcons built their seven-point edge.

It appeared the Falcons, 1-3, might secure the win before they did in the waning seconds.

A partially blocked LHS punt put Nation Ford in business at the Bruins’ four midway the final period, but penalties and a determined Lancaster defense kept them out of the end zone. The flag-marred game had NFHS with 97 penalty yards and LHS with 96.

Nation Ford eventually positioned itself for a field goal, which was partially blocked, but the play also drew a roughing the kicker penalty to the LHS one.

A snap later, Lancaster had new life as Deaunte Buchanon pounced on a NFHS fumble at the LHS one.

Lancaster, relying on its ground attack, opened with Kemarkio Cloud dashing 26 yards on a keeper to the LHS 27, but the drive died from that point and the Bruins were forced to punt.

The Falcons were able to ground out a pair of first downs, the final on Nathan Mahaffey’s 20-yard run to the LHS 15 on a key fourth-and-two snap to seal the game.

“Our defense fought and battled all the way, but we couldn’t get any offensive consistency,” LHS coach Bobby Collins said. “We give up 14 points and we figure we can work with that, but we weren’t able to get our offense on a steady flow.”

Nation Ford broke on top, driving 56 yards after the Falcons’ Tim Smith recovered a LHS fumble.

The Falcons’ drive was kept alive by Dom Campo’s 25-yard pass to Caleb Starnes on a fourth-and-17 play. Starnes had five catches for 73 yards.

Two plays later, Campo hit Nathan Lovette on a one-yard touchdown pass to put the Falcons up, 7-0 after Carter Richardson’s extra point with 6:12 to play.

The Bruins answered in a big way, responding with a 72-yard scoring drive capped by Cloud’s 10-yard dash with 47.7 seconds in the opening period. Jacob Cato’s kick tied the game at 7-all.

Cloud, who ran for 103 yards on 13 carries for the night, netted 31 yards in the LHS scoring drive.

The Falcons took the lead for good just before the half, moving 41 yards in five plays, with Campo hitting Starnes on a 12-yard touchdown catch with 4:26 to play for a 14-7 lead.

From that point, Nation Ford was able to keep the upper hand and grab its first win.

“Defense was the key,” Allen said. “We rose to the occasion.

“We fought through a lot of adversity with four starters out tonight,” he said. “Our defense played well and our punting team was big, helping us with field position.”

Collins said the LHS offense must step up.

“We’re not consistent and we have to do a better job sustaining drives,” he said. “It’s disappointing, but we have to battle through it. It’s about working and getting better.”

JiQuan Stover aided the LHS offense with nine carries for 48 yards. Zach Truesdale had two catches for 24 yards and Christian Woodard had a catch for 16 yards.

Lancaster, 1-3 and on a three-game slide, will look to get on track Friday with a road trip to Lugoff-Elgin in Kershaw County.

The Demons, 3-2 on the season, dropped a 42-0 loss to South Aiken.