A bevy of big plays for Hillcrest resulted in a big season-opening loss Friday night for Laurens at K.C. Hanna Stadium.
Hillcrest scored on the opening play of the game and again two plays later, starting an avalanche of offense in a 55-9 nonconference win over the Raiders.
Running back Thomas Stanley ran for 115 yards on eight carries and scored three of the Rams’ nine touchdowns, while quarterback Kaleb Sutton threw three touchdown passes and rushed for another.
On the first play of the game, Sutton found wideout Grant Holliday wide open for a 70-yard touchdown pass and a 7-0 lead just 15 seconds into the game. Stanley added a 54-yard touchdown to put the Rams up 14-0 two offensive snaps later for Hillcrest.
The Raiders answered when defensive back Travija Austin picked off Sutton and returned the interception over 50 yards for the Raiders’ only touchdown of the game with 1:45 left in the first quarter.
LDHS added a safety following a Raiders’ turnover near the Hillcrest goal line. Linebacker Ja’Mauri Williams tackled Stanley in the end zone to cut the Rams’ insurmountable lead to 35-9.
Hillcrest also scored on an interception return and on special teams on a fumbled punt snap returned for a touchdown.
The Rams (1-0) led 42-9 by halftime.
LDHS (0-1) was limited to six first downs for the game and 113 yards of total offense.
“It snowballed on us by the end,” said LDHS head coach Daryl Smith, whose Raiders lost their fifth straight game to Class 5A Hillcrest.
While Hillcrest was ranked just outside the top 10 in Class 5A in a preseason media poll, the Raiders’ next opponent – Clinton – is ranked No. 4 in Class 3A.
LDHS will host the rival Red Devils next Friday (Aug. 25).