Laurens Academy ended its regular season Friday night with a 36-8 loss at Richard Winn Academy in Winnsboro.
LA (4-7 overall, 2-3 Region 4-1A 8-man) earned a playoff berth with a win a week earlier over Newberry Academy and will travel to top overall seed and three-time defending state champion Holly Hill Academy (8-1).
But Richard Winn (9-1, 4-0) stopped LA’s momentum, jumping out to an early lead and keeping the Crusaders off the scoreboard until the fourth quarter.
Trailing 8-0 in the second quarter, LA was driving toward a potential game-tying score when freshman quarterback Ethan Collins was knocked out of the game with an injury.
Richard Winn recovered a fumble on the play to set up a scoring drive before halftime.
“We went from being in the ballgame to not in a hurry,” said LA head coach Jolly Doolittle.
Garrett Murphy scored LA’s lone touchdown in the final stanza. He rushed for 114 yards on eight carries.
Jared Willard, who replaced Collins at quarterback, scored the 2-point conversion. Before exiting, Collins completed 11 of 16 passes for 76 yards.
Doolittle said Saturday morning that Collins’ status for the playoff contest against Holly Hill is unclear.
Either way Holly Hill will be a tall order for LA. The Raiders completed its third straight 12-0 season and won their third straight title last year. Their winning streak was stopped at 37 games with a regular season loss to Jefferson Davis Academy on Sept. 1.
“They’re going to be a huge favorite,” Doolittle said. “We want to get into a situation where we execute one play at a time and maybe you get a situation where it’s closer than they thought and start to panic a little bit.
“We’re not going to get bigger, stronger and faster before Friday, but we can execute better every play.”