Defensive mistakes and offensive turnovers turned the tough task of starting the season on the road in Myrtle Beach, S.C. against the Carolina Forest Panthers into a 56-27 loss for the West Brunswick Trojan varsity football team.

“First game, a lot of stuff to work on. A lot of stuff to correct,” West Brunswick head coach Caleb Pardue said.

“Coach (Scott) Loosemore, our offensive coordinator, hit on it, we’ve got too much stuff that’s going wrong that’s not football related. And you know what, that’s going to happen. That’s part of it. But I’m pretty disappointed with the way we came out tonight. We’re a much better football team than that. They did a good job giving us some problems, taking away things that we had worked on. It took us a little time to get corrected. But once we did, we hit them on offense and did a pretty good job. This is not the type of team we want to be. We want to be a lot tougher than this. We want to be more hard-nosed. But that’s just part of it, day by day getting better.”

West Brunswick kicked off to Carolina Forest to start the game.

The Panthers took the kick at their own 20 and ran it back for a short gain to their 25-yard line.

On the first play from offense, Panthers quarterback Scott Saylor threw a pass to the right sideline that went for 33 yards, putting Carolina Forest on the West Brunswick 42-yard line. Then the Panthers went to their running game on three straight plays to move the ball to the 26.

Carolina Forest took their first shot at the end zone with a pass to the left corner, but it fell incomplete. Saylor then carried the ball inside the 20-yard line but after a penalty the Panthers were backed up to West’s 23.

Carolina Forest tried a pair of running plays that were stopped for no gain by the Trojans and on third down Saylor threw another incomplete pass.

Facing 4th and 14th from the 22-yard line, the Panthers decided to go for it and it paid off when Saylor hit wide receiver Owen Hall in the back of the end zone for a touchdown. With the extra point, Carolina Forest took the lead 7-0 with just under seven minutes gone in the first quarter.

After the kickoff, West Brunswick began at their own 25-yard line, with quarterback Javan McCray throwing an incomplete pass on first down.

On second down, a high snap had the backfield chasing the ball down inside the 10-yard line. J.J. Cobb was able to grab it off a bounce and run back to the 17-yard line. On 3rd and 18, the Trojans handed off to Kevon Daniels who ran for 16 yards to set up a 4th and 2 at the 33.

Lining up to go for it on fourth down pulled Carolina Forest offside and West had a 1st and 10 at their 38-yard line.

West tried another pass on first down with McCray rolling right and throwing for senior wide receiver Avery Clemmons, but the pass was incomplete.

Daniels then picked up three yards on a run on second down and on 3rd and 7 McCray threw to Clemmons on another incomplete pass, but Carolina Forest was flagged for a penalty to give the Trojans another first down at the Panthers’ 49-yard line.

On the next play McCray was tackled on a quarterback keeper and his helmet came off so he had to leave the field for one play. Junior quarterback Tristan Williams came in on second down but was sacked on the play.

On 3rd and 16 at their own 45-yard line McCray was back behind center for the Trojans but threw an incomplete pass to Cobb and the Trojans punted with the Panthers taking over at their own 26-yard line.

Carolina Forest running back Kalil Johnson took the ball 19 yards on first down to the 45-yard line. After Saylor threw the ball away on the next play while under pressure from West junior Jamaal Marlowe, he connected on a second down pass for 16 yards and then Johnson broke through the Trojan defense for a 20-yard gain.

Saylor connected on another pass for 13 yards to set up the Panthers at West’s 6-yard line and Johnson took the ball up the middle for the home team’s second touchdown. With the extra point, the Panthers led 14-0.

After receiving the kickoff at the 32-yard line, a pair of penalties on West Brunswick’s second possession had the team facing a 3rd and 20 from their own 23-yard line. While McCray connected with Cobb on the team’s first completion of the night for 13 yards, the Trojans had to punt on 4th and 6 from the 36-yard line.

West sophomore JoJo Hamric’s punt put Carolina Forest on their own 32 and a first down delay of game backed them up for a 1st and 15 from the 27.

But the down and distance didn’t phase the Panthers as Saylor threw a pass to junior wide receiver Finnian Mahood, who made the catch at the 35-yard line, juked a defender and took off, running another 65 yards for a touchdown. With the extra point Carolina Forest led 21-0 with just under 10 minutes to play in the first half.

After a fair catch on the kickoff put the Trojans at their own 30-yard line, Daniels ran for 19 yards on first down to move the ball to midfield.

Keeping the ball in Daniels’ hands, West ran for eight yards to the Carolina Forest 43 and then picked up one yard to give West a 3rd and 1 at the 42.

Daniels got the ball again and got the first down with an 8-yard run. With the hot hand he took another handoff for 21 yards down to the Panther 13.

With 1st and 10 at the 13, Daniels was spelled by Dylan Bellamy who picked up three yards. On second down, McCray ran a keeper for another three yards.

The Trojans were inside the 10-yard line when McCray took a snap on third down but fumbled the ball looking to pass, which was recovered by Carolina Forest at the 17-yard line, ending West’s threat.

On the first play after the turnover, Saylor ran right on an option keeper and went 64 yards before he was pulled down at the West Brunswick 19-yard line.

After a nine-yard gain on first down, the Panthers were backed up by a penalty on second down to the 20-yard line.

The misstep didn’t stop Carolina Forest as Saylor threw another touchdown pass to Mahood. Another extra point kick made it a 28-0 game with four minutes left in the half.

The kickoff to West went out of bounds, putting the Trojans at the 35-yard line. After McCray lost two yards on an option keeper on first down, he threw a quick pass on second down to Daniels in the right flat that he took for 26 yards.

With a 1st and 10 at the Carolina Forest 41, McCray threw a pass to Avery Clemmons for 15 yards. At the 26-yard line, McCray handed off to Daniels for a short gain and then on second down threw another pass to him in the flat that left West with a 3rd and 8 at the 24-yard line.

After a timeout to talk things over, the Trojans went back to Daniels on a run to the right, which he broke open for the first West Brunswick touchdown of the year. Hamric hit the extra point and the Trojans trailed 28-7 with one minute to play in the half.

West’s kickoff went out of bounds, setting the Panthers up at their own 37-yard line. Johnson ran for another 24 yards on first down. Then Carolina Forest went to the passing game to move to the 25-yard line where they set up for a field goal attempt. The kick was wide left and came up short, giving West the ball back for one play to run out the clock on the half trailing 28-7.

West Brunswick received the kickoff in the second half and a fair catch by Hamric set them up at the 30-yard line but on the second play of the drive McCray and Daniels collided in the backfield, causing a fumble that Carolina Forest recovered.

Starting on West’s 32-yard line, Johnson picked up five yards on first down. A penalty on the Trojans moved the ball another 10 yards. Johnson ran for another five yards to the seven-yard line and the Panthers scored on a Saylor pass to senior wide receiver Anthony Aponte.

The point after kick increased the Panther lead to 35-7 with 10 minutes to go in the third quarter.

Another Hamric fair catch on the kickoff put the Trojans back on offense at the 30-yard line, where Bellamy took a first down handoff for 13 yards. Cobb then took a sweep around the right end for a 48-yard gain to the Panthers 9-yard line.

Daniels got the handoff on 1st and goal and punched in a second Trojan touchdown. Hamric kicked the extra point and in just under a minute West made it a 35-14 game with nine minutes left in the third quarter.

A squib kickoff gave Carolina Forest the ball back at their own 42-yard line and the Panthers stuck to the running game to move into West Brunswick territory.

On 3rd down Saylor took off on a quarterback keeper to the right and picked up 32 yards for a 1st and goal at the four-yard line. The Panthers ran sophomore Zion Gilbert twice to push across the goal line for their fifth touchdown. With the extra point made, they led 42-14 with five minutes left in the third.

Starting at their own 33-yard line after the kickoff, West went to the air as McCray hit Daniels with another short pass that he took for 14 yards to the West 47.

McCray rolled out to the right and threw for another completion to Clemmons, who picked up 19 yards. Then McCray ran an option keeper for six yards to reach the Carolina Forest 29-yard line.

West Brunswick handed off to Daniels twice to pick up five more yards and were at the Panthers’ 24-yard line with another first down when McCray fumbled on a pass attempt that turned the ball over to Carolina Forest again.

The Panthers started from their own 31-yard line but lost a yard on the first play.

On the next play Charles McCray broke through the right side of West’s line and ran for a 70-yard touchdown. After the extra point, Carolina Forest had a 49-14 lead with just over a minute left in the third.

The Panthers kickoff went out of bounds and Pardue chose to have them rekick from their 35-yard line. The second kick was a line drive that bounced twice before Daniels tracked it down and then ran it back up the right sideline 90 yards, seemingly for a touchdown, but the play was called back on a penalty away from the ball and West started their next series from their own 30.

Cobb started the series with a 7-yard run and on the next play McCray went right back to him with a rollout pass that Cobb caught by ducking under a defender and diving for the catch. But West was tagged with another penalty which backed them up to their own 28.

After a 5-yard run from Daniels and an incomplete pass to Cobb, the Trojans punted and Carolina Forest took over at their own 42.

The Panthers were back in the end zone after a three-play series as Johnson ran for 40 yards and Ethan Hamilton scored on a run from 21-yards out. Another extra point kick went through the uprights to give Carolina Forest a 56-14 lead with under 10 minutes left in the game.

Hamric made a fair catch on the kickoff to put West at their own 35-yard line where they went right back to Daniels on a pair of running plays that each picked up nine yards the cross midfield. After a penalty wiped out a McCray pass to Cobb, another hand off to Daniels picked up eight yards.

Then McCray hit Jordan McCall with a slant pass that went for 17 yards. McCray was then tackled for a loss of 7 yards but on the next play found Clemmons across the middle for a 28-yard gain to the 5-yard line.

On 1st and goal from the 5, Williams came in at quarterback for McCray and ran a keeper up the middle for a touchdown. With the extra point by Hamric, the score was 56-21 with just over three minutes to play.

The Trojans went with an onside kick on the kickoff and recovered the ball at the Carolina Forest 40-yard line.

On first down, Cobb took a sweep around the right side for a 29-yard gain. Daniels then ran up the middle twice to score the Trojans fourth touchdown. The extra point was blocked to make it a 56-27 score.

With just over a minute to play Carolina Forest took the kickoff at their own 45-yard line and ran a final play to run off the clock.

“Tonight, it was just, we’re getting out leveraged, guys were getting lost. We’re not making the right fits. We’re not making the right reads. It’s all stuff that can be fixed,”

“After the first game last year, I sat down and watched the film and it was just like we had never played defense before. Tonight, we played defense and the things that we blew are fixable. So I feel better about that,” Pardue said about the defense. He added that offensively, they were better but there were issues he said they have to work out as a coaching staff.

“Too much miscommunication, not enough guys talking and doing the things that they’ve been taught to do. That they know to do. Quarterback play, (McCray) can play so much better than that. I think he was trying to get the deep ball early. And that’s just not what we’re built for. We want to take what people give us and chip away, and then the big play will eventually come. We’re too talented for it not to. A lot of frustrating stuff, but stuff that absolutely, we can correct it. So I’ll be quite honest, I’m not as distraught as I was at this time last year because I feel like without those two red zone turnovers, without some of the blown stuff, the opening drive where we give up a 4th and 13 ball over the top. Stuff like that is correctable. We can fix that,” Pardue said.

“Biggest thing is we can’t get too down on ourselves. It’s week one. We’re going to get a lot better.”

Brian Slattery is the sports editor for The Brunswick Beacon. Reach him at 910-239-7433 or bslattery@brunswickbeacon.com.

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