The Laurens Raiders’ football team opened its quest for an SCHSL Class 5A championship Friday night, and in doing so nearly saw its outstanding season come to a sudden end.
However, running back Duane Martin didn’t let that happen.
Martin rushed for 231 yards and four touchdowns to help spark Laurens to 466 rushing yards total, and lead the Raiders to a 43-40 victory over Blythewood in the playoff opener Friday night at K.C. Hanna Stadium. The victory moved the Raiders, who have now won eight straight games, to 9-1 on the season.
It also set up a showdown next Friday night between Laurens and Byrnes, which ousted Nation Ford, in the second round. That game will also be at K.C. Hanna Stadium.
Laurens opened a 21-7 lead with 4 minutes, 46 seconds to go in the first half before the Bengals rallied back with three straight touchdowns to take a 26-21 lead with 10:09 to go in regulation. The RAiders, however, put the game away with the final two of Martin’s four touchdown runs – a 41-yarder and a 4-yarder – to go up 36-26 with 7:11 to go. Bythewood stayed with it with a pair of touchdowns that sandwiched a Ryan Campbell 27-yard scoring run, but a pair of late first downs put the game on ice for Laurens.
Campbell rushed for 121 yards and threw for 41 more. He also caught a 30-yard pass from James Rawl in the second quarter that helped set up a Jordan Woodruff 3-yard touchdown run.
Blythewood quarterback Josh Strickland did all he could to help his team stay in it, throwing for a whopping 467 yards and 6 touchdowns. He also had two interceptions.
CLINTON: The Red Devils ended their season with a record of 4-7 after falling 43-14 to Camden in the first round of the Class 3A playoffs.
Camden scored the game’s first 37 points before Clinton scored on a 6-yard touchdown run from Greg Sanders late in the third quarter. Shyquan Kinard had the final touchdown of the game, an 11-yard run in the fourth quarter, followed by a Kinard 2-point conversion run.
Kinard finished the game with 9 yards rushing to lead all backs. Kimon Quarles had 82 yards rushing and threw a 40-yard pass to Jykorie Gary.
Camden quarterback Jaffari Pearson threw for 206 yards and a touchdown in the victory.