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Smith let go after 2-9 season with Raiders

Former Laurens District High head coach Daryl Smith.

Laurens District 55 High School is making a change at the top of its football program after a 2-9 season.

Daryl Smith said Tuesday via text that he was informed by LDHS Athletic Director Tommy Spires and Principal Lewis Compton that he would not return as the Raiders’ head coach next season.

“The success on the field was not at the level that we all wanted this year,” Smith said. “However, I am extremely proud of how our players conducted themselves on the field, in the classroom and in the community. We had an outstanding coaching staff that loved the players and worked extremely hard to help them improve.

“I am grateful for the time I was able to spend with these players and coaches. I wish the program the best.”

The search for the 10th head coach in the 50-year history of LDHS is expected to begin in December.

“We told Daryl that we appreciated his effort and the time he gave to the program,” said LDHS head coach Tommy Spires. “But for our program, we felt like we needed to take a different direction when you look at where we are over the course of four years.”

Smith was promoted to head coach from his defensive coordinator post in 2020 soon after former head coach Chris Liner, who had hired Smith away from Dorman, resigned to take over at his alma mater, Greenwood.

The Raiders were coming off a 9-2 season and a Region 1-5A championship under Liner, and Smith’s defense gave up 22 points per game against the likes of Greenwood, Westside and T.L. Hanna.

In four seasons with the Raiders, Smith accumulated a 14-25 overall record and was 8-6 in region play. His tenure included the Covid-interrupted 2020 and 2021 seasons.

The Raiders won a region championship under Smith in 2021 with a 2-0 record in then Region 2-4A. Covid forced the cancellation of several region games that season. LDHS finished 6-5 overall in 2021 with a first-round playoff win at Easley.

It was Smith’s only winning season and included five straight victories before a second-round playoff loss at South Pointe.

The Raiders were the region runners-up in 2022, going 4-7 overall and 3-1 in a newly constituted Region 2-4A with Greer, Eastside, Riverside and Wade Hampton.

This past season, the Raiders played a challenging non-region schedule with five of their first six games against teams ranked in their respective classifications, including Class 5A T.L. Hanna and Class 3A Upper State semifinalists Clinton and Belton-Honea Path.

At 0-6 heading into their Region 2-4A schedule, the Raiders won two of their final four games, beating Riverside and Wade Hampton to finish fourth in the region standings and earn a playoff berth.

The Raiders went on the road to open the playoffs where they lost to then No. 2-ranked Northwestern 57-0 in Rock Hill.

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