FLORENCE - Datron James knows how to begin with a bang. After rushing for 278 yards in last year's season opener against Carolina Forest, the Fort Dorchester junior rushed for 209 yards and a touchdown in the Patriots' 34-10 win over South Florence on Friday at Memorial Stadium.
After last season opener, James played behind 1,000-yard backs Matt Murray and Nashon Silas, but is expected to carry the load on offense this year.
James was the focal point of the Fort Dorchester running attack, which grounded out 419 yards against the Bruins defense. Quarterback Kobe Garrett added 108 yards, including a 75-yard run in the second quarter to give the Patriots a 20-0 lead.
"Our offensive line opened up big holes for me and I took advantage of it," James said. "We read on the Internet that they (South Florence) were saying we get tired too fast, but we conditioned real good for this game and came out and did our thing."
This wasn't the start the Bruins - who were coming off a school-best 12-1 season last year - envisioned. The Bruins struggled stopping the run and its high-powered offense never got on track for much of the night.
South Florence's 10 points was the lowest it scored in a game since the 33-10 loss to West Florence in 2012.
""We just weren't ready for it tonight. We didn't come out mentally prepared and that is our fault as coaches," South Florence coach David Prince said. Down 20-0 at halftime, South got some momentum in the third quarter. The Bruins got on the board in the third quarter on senior Evan Rabon's 33-yard field goal to cut the lead to 20-3 with 8:25 left.
South Florence looked to draw closer on its next possession and got the ball down to the Fort Dorchester 10-yard line. Instead of going for a field goal on fourth-and-6, Prince opted to go for it, and Nick Jones' pass to David Vereen was incomplete.
"I felt like we needed to come away with seven there," Prince said. "A lot of it was faith in our players that we were going to make that play. I probably should have kicked a field goal and then score two more touchdowns. We been struggling to get down there and we felt like we needed to get in there when we got that close."
The Patriots responded with an 89-yard drive and James' 4-yard run gave Fort Dorchester a 27-3 lead with 10:05 left in the game.
Quarterback Nick Jones was 14-of-26 for 154 yards and a touchdown but picked off twice in the second half. Vereen had four catches for 64 yards and a TD.
South Florence had several players leave with injuries with the most serious coming to offensive lineman Austin Bazen, who left the game after injuring his knee.
South Florence will play Hanover (N.C.) on Saturday in Myrtle Beach at the Derrick Law Firm Classic. Kickoff is set for 8:30 p.m.
FD 3 17 0 14-34
SF 0 0 3 7-10
FD - Rosanski 23 FG
FD - Garrett 1 run (Rozanski kick)
FD - Garrett 75 run (Rozanski kick)
FD - Rosanski 20 FG
SF - Evan Rabon 33 FG
FD - James 5 run (Rozanski kick)
FD - Wittrell 8 run (Granger kick)
SF - Vereen 25 pass from Jones (Rabon kick)