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Touchdown Club caps year with awards banquet

The 2019 football season for Laurens County came to its unofficial conclusion Wednesday night at The Ridge at Laurens, where the Laurens County Touchdown Club banquet was held. The 2019 all-county team was celebrated during the banquet, including the recognition of Laurens’ Duane Martin as Player of the Year, and Chris Liner as Coach of the Year.
Both Martin and Liner won their respective awards for the second straight season.
Liner, in his end-of-year speech, noted how different it felt to win the award this year after winning it 2018 – when the Raiders went 4-7 overall.
“Last year I got coach of the year. I was embarrassed. We were 4-7. I didn’t deserve that,” Liner said. “I don’t feel bad about it this year. I was elated when I found out because we deserved it. We earned it.”
Liner also said awards like those he won this year, including the Coach of the Year award, are a credit to his assistant coaches.
“I’ve been fortunate to win a few awards this year. Those belong to our coaching staff more than me. I’ve got an awesome group of assistant coaches who are high-character guys who love our guys on and off the field.”
Liner’s Raiders went 9-2 this season, including an unblemished 7-0 in Region 1-5A, to win the region championship for the second time in four years. The Raiders were eliminated in the second round of the Class 5A playoffs by Byrnes.
Martin, on defense, had 67 tackles (four for loss), five pass break-ups, eight quarterback pressures, two sacks, one INT,  and two blocked PATs. On offense, Martin had 712 yards for the season (6.9 yards per carry) and 14 touchdowns.
Here is the full All-County team, listed by school:

Laurens Academy: Thomas Lowry, QB-DE; Diamonte Grant, TE-DE; Cal Robertson, WR-LB; Reles Littleton, OL-DL.
Clinton: Kimon Quarles, RB; Greg Sanders, FB-LB; Austin Caughman, ILB-SS; Shyquan Kinard, FB-LB; Jykorie Gary, DB; Jacob Hall, LT-DL; Darian Grant, LG-DL.
Laurens: Mark McGowan, CB; Jackson Mahon, LB; Garrett Addy, DE-LB; Zy Todd, RB; Austin James, OL; Dee Foster, WR; Duane Martin, FB-LB; Lindin Gault, OLB-S; Ryan Campbell, QB; Braedon Smith, OL; Cole England, OL; Juan Cervantes, P.

Clinton splits: The Clinton Red Devils split a home doubleheader Wednesday night with Ninety Six, with the girls moving to 4-0 in the early going with a 31-15 victory, while the boys suffered a 44-37 loss.
In the girls’ victory Taneal Evans had seven points, Tinique Austin had six points, and both Dana Kinard and DeShanti Watts had five.
As for the boys, the Red Devils were shut out in the fourth quarter, with Ninety Six scoring all 14 points to rally back from down 37-30 through three quarters, and hand the Red Devils the tough loss. Konnor Richardson was the lone Red Devil in double figures with 11 points, while Jalen Ruff had seven points.

Women’s basketball
UNC Wilmington 70, Presbyterian 60: In a tough home loss for the Blue Hose to enter their exam break, Trinity Johnson continued her oustanding play with a program Division-I record-tying 30 points. Johnson is now the third PC player to score 30 points in a game, tying the mark set by Courtney Storey and Kacie Hall.
Johnson went 10 of 13 from the field, including 3 of 3 from 3-point range, while picking up six rebounds and four assists to go with her 30 points. She currently leads the team in scoring with 16.3 points per game.
Hall had 11 points in the game, the 47th time she’s scored at least 10 points in a game in her career. She is now 58 points short of 1,000 for her collegiate career. Alessia Capley had eight points and nine boards, while Jade Compton had a season-high 12 rebounds to go with seven points.

County Hall of Fame nominations: The Laurens County Sports Hall of Fame is accepting nominations for the Class of 2020.
Nominations are open now through the end of December. Forms are available at The criteria for nominations is the following: any nominee must have been a resident of Laurens County for five years, and must be out of high school for 10 years. The main point of emphasis is athletic achievement and performance, but other criteria will be considered. To nominate someone for the Hall of Fame, contact Billy Dunlap at
The induction banquet will take place in April at The Ridge at Laurens.

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