Laurens’ title hopes washed away
The Laurens’ Raiders football team turned in one of its best seasons in recent memory, claiming its second region championship in four years, and advancing to the second round of the SCHSL Class 5A playoffs.
But against the perennial power Byrnes Rebels on Friday night, Laurens simply could not keep up with the Rebels’ offense – one that carved up Laurens’ rushing defense to the tune of 370 net yards – in a 41-12 decision that ended the Raiders’ season at 9-2.
Byrnes’ Rahjai Harris set the tone for the contest when he ran the very first offensive play of the game for a 65-yard touchdown that put the Rebels up 7-0 just 16 seconds into the game. Harris finished the game with 266 yards rushing on 21 carries, as well as a whopping five touchdowns.
Byrnes then recovered an onside kick, but could not score on the ensuing drive – but did score on its third series of the game when Brayden Blackmon scored on a 1-yard touchdown run to go up 14-0.
Harris then scored the next four touchdowns – on rushes of 9, 1, 44, and 4 yards – to eventually expand the lead to 41-0, but a pair of 10-yard rushing touchdown by Duane Martin rounded out the scoring.
Friday’s loss was the final game for a host of Laurens seniors, including starting quarterback Ryan Campbell. He finished with 71 yards rushing and 26 yards passing. Martin, who is off to the Shrine Bowl next month and is a finalist for Mr. Football, rushed for 96 yards and the two touchdowns.