Craig punt return TD boosts Laurens

The Laurens Raiders’ football team used its offense and, especially, its defense to stay in the game Friday night against the Westside Rams at K.C. Hanna Stadium, but it was special teams that ended up providing the big blow.

Isaac Craig returned a punt 66 yards for a touchdown with 2 minutes, 9 seconds left in regultion, giving Laurens its only lead of the night in a 20-17 victory that moved the team to 4-1 overall and 3-0 in Region 1-5A. The victory leaves Laurens in a tie for first in the region standings with Woodmont – which hosts the Raiders in a now pivotal region clash next week.

Craig took what was a terrible punt from Westside’s Bryce Early, who only sent his kick 13 yards before Craig scooped it up on his own 34-yard line, weaved his way through traffic and found his way to the end zone in a moment that sent the Laurens bench into unbridled joy.

Westside had one final chance to force overtime when it got in position for a 41-yard field goal, but a delay of game moved the ball back five yards. Now attempting a 46-yard field goal, Wesley King’s attempt was short, giving the Raiders the victory.

Laurens quarterback Ryan Campbell had a game-high 132 yards rushing and two touchdowns, including a 76-yarder in the first half, part of Laurens’ 207-yard performance as a team. Westside lost despite a slim edge in total yards (237-233) and first downs (14-10), and a near five-minute edge in time of possession. Westside also did not turn the ball over, while Laurens gave it up once on a Campbell interception.

Union County 54, Clinton 21: Junior Owens had 182 yards rushing and three touchdowns, the Yellow Jackets had 517 yards of total offense, and rolled up 47 points in the first half to run away from the Red Devils.

Shyquan Kindard had 176 yards rushing and three touchdowns for Clinton (2-4 overall, 0-1 Region 3-3A), but the Red Devils’ passing game accounted for just 10 yards, compared to 210 for Union County.

Clinton visits Mid-Carolina Friday night.

Clarendon Hall 44, Laurens Academy 22: The Crusaders suffered their second straight loss on a night where many of the players were knocked out with severe cramps – so many that the game was halted at the start of the fourth quarter.

Thomas Lowry, who was knocked out of LA’s game the week before at Calhoun Academy, threw two touchdown passes and helped the Crusaders to a 10-point lead in the third quarter, but Calhoun Academy ran off the final 32 points of the game before it was halted.

LA (2-3, 1-2) visits Richard Winn Friday night.

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