ROWLAND — On a night where there weren’t many positives statistically the South Robeson football team could draw from a 54-6 loss to Lake View at home on Friday, the future of the Mustangs gave a glimpse of what’s to come.
Lake View (2-1) jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter, before running away with the contest over the final three quarters behind its 318 yards of rushing with five scores on the ground in the blowout win. While going up against a local power out of South Carolina, South Robeson coach Clay Jernigan saw the youth take a mental lesson from the game, as it begins Three Rivers Conference play next Friday.
“We’ve got a lot of sophomores and we’ve got a lot of young guys that tonight was a good experience for them,” Jernigan said. “I thought we had a good gameplan. We came out and moved the ball, and then we just shoot ourselves in the foot. It’s my job to get them prepared.”
South Robeson (0-2) turned the ball over four times showing its inexperience with three fumbles and an interception.
The second fumble felt almost like a summary of the night for the Mustangs in the third quarter. After the Wild Gators scored on the first drive of the second half making it 34-0, they kicked off and the Mustangs returned the ball before the returner lost his footing and coughed the ball up right into the hands of Lake View’s Keshawn Hanford, who brought the ball back to score and make it a 40-0 ballgame. The touchdown capped off two touchdowns in 10 seconds for the Wild Gators.
The youth also brought to light what is to come this year and in the future with the South Robeson backfield. Sophomores Jamuari Baker and P.J. Christian, who scored touchdowns in the 22-20 loss at Union last week, had another solid showing, this time for the home crowd. Baker finished with 110 yards, 24 of which came on his touchdown run midway through the third quarter.
“The only senior I had out in the backfield tonight was No. 2 (Tylek Baker),” Jernigan said. “Jamuari played good last Friday. I know he can run it, but right now he’s growing up. He’s getting better every game.”
Baker and Christian combined for 150 yards in what Jernigan hopes will be the last game of the season without Jamearos McLeod, the team’s leading returning rusher from last year.
The Mustangs take on West Columbus Friday at home in the first of two games this year against 1A opponents in the conference as they look to claim the 1A title of the conference again and secure a playoff berth.
Lake View’s Ja’Correus Ford rushed for 119 yards and two touchdowns, while Benji Kelley rushed for 99 yards and a pair of scores. Deonte Roberts had an 89-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the third quarter, and Tahja Nesmith returned a blocked punt 40 yards for a touchdown for the Wild Gators first score of the game.
Jonathan Bym can be reached at 910-816-1977 or by email at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @Jonathan_Bym.