Sharks’ comeback bid falls short in wild one with Loris

The St. James High football team went all last season without tasting victory. In Friday night’s season opener against visiting Loris, the Sharks came within inches of snapping the skid.

Riley Parker’s 38-yard field goal as time expired sailed wide left, ending a wild game that saw five lead changes in the second half and nearly went to overtime in first-year coach Joey Price’s debut with the Sharks.

The Lions (1-0) used a long, time-consuming drive on the ground to post the winning score. On fourth-and goal from the 4, Loris quarterback Levon Stevenson took a bootlegg around the left side to make it 22-19 with 2 minutes left.

St. James answered with an impressive drive of their own behind the arm of quarterback Berkeley Young, who had three TD passes on the night. His 7-yard toss to Gage Flohr on the Sharks’ opening drive gave them a 6-0 lead they carried into halftime.

But Loris finally got the ground game going behind Waderek Hemingway, whose 7-yard TD run allowed the Lions to cash in on a St. James turover. Kendall Goodson’s 2-point conversion run gave Loris an 8-6 edge.

The Sharks responded two plays later on Young’s 50-yard bomb to Chris Anderson, but Goodson busted loose for a TD and 2-point run early in the fourth quarter to put Loris back on top 16-12.

St. James refused to go away and Young notched a hat trick on the night with a 32-yard TD pass to Hunter Smiley with 8 minutes left in the game. The Lions’ 6-minute drive was nearly stopped with a late goal line stand but Stevenson managed to break a tackle and gallop into the end zone.

The Sharks converted a pair of big pass plays by Young to get in the red zone in the waning seconds. St. James opted to try a game-tying field goal and Parker got plenty of distance, but the ball sailed left of the upright to halt the Sharks’ hopes of starting the season with a win.

St. James gets another chance next week when it plays host to Waccamaw.

– Photo by Joel Beachum

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