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Raiders set to return after unwanted break

RB/LB Gemire Darden (21) and the Raiders are set to return to action after two weeks this Friday night at Eastside.

Laurens got back to practice at near full force Monday. Now, the Raiders just have to make it to Friday night.

COVID-19 positive tests and quarantines forced LDHS to cancel its last two scheduled varsity football games, which were region contests against Greenwood and Greenville. The outbreak and quarantines entirely decimated two position groups, forcing the cancellations.

With a trip to Region 2-4A opponent Eastside set for Friday night, LDHS head coach Daryl Smith said the Raiders hit the practice field Monday with all but three players in attendance.

“Last week was a long week,” he said. “We had a good day back (Monday). There was some excitement out there at practice. It was kind of like a first practice of the season, so they were glad to be back, and it was good to see that energy with everybody.”

LDHS practice as much as it could last week, but did so with around 25 players  – a little more than half of the roster.

The Raiders will only play two region games, but Smith said he believes they can still make the playoffs as one of four Region 2-4A teams to make the field. He said wins over Greer and Eastside could put his team in position for at least the No. 2 seed and a home playoff game.

But LDHS (2-3 overall, 0-0 region) has to get past Eastside first.

The Eagles (1-6, 0-1) have struggled to score in all but one game this season. In their six losses, the Eagles have scored just 17 points. Their lone win was a 31-28 victory over Wade Hampton on Sept. 3.

“They’ve had a lot of lopsided losses, but they’ve got some good guys up front, especially on the defensive line,” Smith said. “So, I don’t think they’re as bad as some of the scores have been.”

But Smith said the Raiders’ biggest challenges heading into Friday night are refocusing and recapturing the energy they exhibited in a win at North Augusta before COVID-19 struck the roster hard.

“The biggest things for us offensively, is we have to take care of Laurens,” he said. “Saying that, I mean we have to take care of the football and not have any turnovers. Greenwood was able to jump on (Eastside) early (in a 46-8 win) and I want to see us do that. I don’t think we’ve been able to do that this year.”

In other games scheduled for Friday night: Class 3A No. 3 Clinton hosts No. 5 Chapman, Ware Shoals is at McCormick and Laurens Academy is at W.W. King Academy.


Clinton tennis stays perfect

The Red Devils girls tennis team improved to 6-0 this season with a 7-0 win over Emerald Monday.

The Vikings forfeited three matches, but Clinton did not drop a single game in singles as Mary Catherine Dailey, Chandler Dailey and Gracie Spangler all won by scores of 6-0, 6-0 at the top of the singles ladder. Gracie Wiggins and Libby Dailey won 6-1, 6-2 and No. 2 doubles.

The win was the start of a busy week for the Red Devils, who will also host Woodruff Wednesday and have matches at Chapman Thursday and at home against the Panthers on Friday that are expected to decide the Region 3-3A championship.


Laurens senior volleyball players, from left, Callie Wzorek, Anna Taylor, Mattison Strange and Micah Robertson.

Raiders get Senior Night win

Laurens volleyball topped Eastside in four sets Thursday, getting a 25-20, 25-19, 18-25, 25-23 victory on Senior Night.

Callie Wzorek led the Raiders with 32 assists, three aces, 12 digs and six kills. Mattie Strange added 20 digs and 20 kills and Aubrey Wardell had nine digs.


Ware Shoals earns playoff berth

Ware Shoals (2-5 overall, 2-2 region) topped visiting Calhoun Falls 34-14 in a rain-delayed Region 1-1A contest Monday night.

With the win, the Hornets locked down one of the region’s four playoff berths.

It was Ware Shoals’ second win of the season over the Blue Flashes.

Sophomore running back Justice Lomax led the Hornets with 86 yards on 14 rushes and a touchdown. Freshman quarterback Dalton Boyter, who connected with Tyler Conklin on a 40-yard touchdown pass, added 65 yards on the ground and Jaylen Coats had eight carries for 60 yards.

Ware Shoals travels to McCormick Friday night.

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