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Laurence Manning High School
Manning

Laurence Manning Prepares For Wilson Hall II After Thrilling 14-13 Hail Mary Score On Final Play Last Week

By Billy G. Baker

Publisher

Manning—After Laurence Manning defeated Wilson Hall on the final play on a Hail Mary touchdown catch by Taylor Lee in the end zone last week for a 14-13 win, would you believe the same two teams will meet again this week at Laurence Manning in the first round of the SCISA AAA playoffs.

The winner moves on to play at Ben Lippen in the second round of the SCISA AAA playoffs next week in Columbia. Ben Lippen earned a first round bye.

“In all my years of coaching I never concluded a season against a team and then had to turn around and play them again in the first round of the playoffs the next week,” said LMA head coach Robbie Briggs. “I am sure emotions are still running high on both teams.

“We are excited having won the game on an unbelievable catch in the end zone by Taylor Lee with two defenders hanging on him,” said Coach Briggs. “Their fans are upset about losing to us on the final play of the game. This was the first time in the history of our school that we have won a varsity football game on the Wilson Hall field. Over the years we have just not played well at Wilson Hall and we didn’t play all that well last week either, and we feel fortunate to have won the game.”

The game was physical and emotions ran high from the opening kick-off. The game involved three player ejections, (one from LMA and two from Wilson Hall) numerous penalties, and sloppy play according to Coach Briggs. These arch-rivals are sure to put it all on the line when they meet again this week.

The Swampcats (8-2) are entering the playoffs on a four game win streak closing out the end of the regular season with a 2-0 forfeit win over Hilton Head Christian, a 35-16 win over Pinewood Prep, a 47-28 win over Porter-Gaud, and last week’s win over the Barons.

“We never led in the game against Wilson Hall until the final play of the game,” said Coach Briggs. “We got the ball back after a punt to our four with 2:56 left in the game and we had to go 96 yards to win the game. Before the great catch Lee made in the end zone to tie the game at 13, quarterback Braydon Osteen kept the drive alive with two scramble of 8 and 12 yards to get us away from the end zone. Osteen had around a 30 yard completion out of the end zone to Burgress Jordan that was a big play also.

“From the 27 yard line Osteen threw a pass near the end zone and with two defenders all over Lee he timed his jump perfectly as he went up and grabbed the ball and fell into the end zone for the touchdown with no time on the clock,” said Coach Briggs. “Needless to say our fans, players, and coaches went wild with a finish like that.

“The real tension came when we went to kick the PAT and Jackson Lee made the first one but we got a five yard penalty and he had to kick it again,” said Coach Briggs. “He hit it straight through the uprights and then our celebration began.”

What do the Swampcats need to do to win this week? “We are making too many administrative penalties and our players are letting the emotions of the game take away from their focus too much,” said Coach Briggs. “We need to not worry about the noise and just focus on our game plan and what we do best. After all it is just a football game and not life or death. You put on the pads and go play and win or lose you move on with your life.

“We certainly were not pleased with our performance last week and we are thankful that we came back and won,” said Coach Briggs. “I know that Wilson Hall felt like they played good enough to win and they will come into our place this week well prepared I am sure.”

Coach Briggs said LMA is at their best when they are running the ball and mixing in a few timely passes. “Last week special teams were an issue and we started most of our drives at around the 28 yard line so that needs to improve this week,” he said. “We do our best when we are running the football. On defense we need to tackle better but an improvement on special teams is a must. We just need to embrace what we do and execute the game plan.”

The score was tied 7-7 at the half with Wilson Hall and LMA scored their first touchdown on a five yard run with 7:19 left in the second period. Another key play in the game was when LMA defender Brad Goodson (6-3, 218) partially blocked the PAT that aided in the one point win. Goodson was named the area “Defensive Player of the Week” by the Sumter touchdown club for his play against Wilson Hall. Goodson had 11 total tackles against the Barons including four TFL, one fumble recovery and the blocked PAT.

To date the tackle index leaders are senior linebacker Dalton Holcomb (5-8, 180) with 78 stops including three sacks and 19 TFL along with senior defensive end Brent Jordan who has 71 hits including a team leading 25 TFL and 9 sacks. Goodson has 61 tackles, 21 TFL, and three fumble recoveries. Speedy junior defensive back Brewer Brunson and junior strong safety Jake Jordan have 55 tackles each. Brunson, who had 9 tackles against Wilson Hall, has broken up 7 passes and he has two interceptions while Jordan has three interceptions.

Long snapping prospect and senior linebacker David Wilder (6-0, 192) has 43 tackles with 7 TFL. Wilder had 9 tackles in the Wilson Hall game. Other tackle contributors include senior defensive back Morgan Morris with 26, defensive back Carson Lowder

With 24, Taylor Lee has 22 including a team leading 12 pass break-ups. Reaves has 19 tackles and freshman corner back Wyatt Rowland has 18 tackles with two interceptions.

On offense Coach Briggs is excited about having his entire offensive line back next year. ”We are really a young team this year and we start only five seniors,” said Coach Briggs. “Our offensive line and has been playing well and these players are junior J.D. Burroughs at left tackle, junior Kodi Reaves at left guard, junior center Jay Godwin, sophomore right guard J.T. Stanley and sophomore right tackle Shane Stephens. We should be really good next year with this group back.”

The offensive stat leaders coming into the playoffs are quarterback Osteen who has completed 82 of 131 passes for 1,169 yards and 18 touchdowns. Osteen has also rushed for 212 yards and three rushing scores. Burgress Jordan shares time at quarterback and he has completed 25 of 48 passes for 463 yards and four touchdowns.

In the running game junior Garrett Black has battled injuries but had 60 yards on 9 carries against the Barons. On the year Black has 51 carries for 451 yards and six touchdowns. Jordan has been an effective running quarterback gaining 413 yards on 97 carries and 8 touchdowns. Speedy Wyatt Rowland is a jet sweep specialist and he has 212 yards on 34 carries and three scores.

The receiving corp is led by senior prospect Taylor Lee (6-0, 165) who recently visited Wofford and the Terriers are showing serious interest in him. Lee has 59 catches for 978 yards and 17 touchdowns. Some of his catches in traffic would make NFL scouts take notice. Rowland is next in receptions with 11 for 195 yards and two scores along with Grayson Dennis who has 13 catches for 162 yards and one score.

As a team LMA has rushed for 1,491 yards on 303 plays with 24 team touchdowns. Through the air LMA has completed 107 of 189 passes for 1,804 yards and 22 touchdowns to 10 different receivers.

 

 

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