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Laurence Manning High School
Manning

 

Swampcats aim to get in championship form

By Justin Driggers
Consulting Editor

Manning – Through five games, the Laurence Manning Academy football team finds itself at 4-1 overall and near the top of SCISA AAA with a 3-1 record.
Still, there’s much room for improvement going forward and there will have to be if the Swampcats are to reach their ultimate goal, head coach Robbie Briggs said. 
“We’ve got to clean up a lot of little things,” Briggs said. “We’ve got a lot of kids who are playing hard. We play hard and we play physical, but we’ve got play smarter. We need to crank it up another notch and maybe get out of our comfort zone. 
“We need to do a better job of coaching and a better job of film study. We’ve got to a better job A to Z.”
LMA was unbeaten heading into its Sept. 28 showdown with First Baptist – the two-time defending SCISA AA state champ that moved up at the start of the year. The Swampcats fell 26-7 after allowing a couple big plays and failing to convert on a number of chances inside the Hurricanes’ 25-yard line. 
“When you’re playing at a championship level like these guys, we’ve got to be able to run in tighter lanes and throw in tighter lanes,” Briggs said. “We have to make the plays when we have an opportunity to make plays.”
The Swampcats had done just that through most of the start of the season. They were averaging 45.5 points through four games and had scored at least 35 in victories over Augusta Christian, Florence Christian, Heathwood Hall and Ben Lippen.
The running attack was a big reason why. LMA finished with 400-plus yards on the ground in three of their first four contests.
“I think the offensive line has played well up until this point,” Briggs said. “Our running backs – we’ve got four different guys that can touch the ball and do things with the ball in their hands. That’s always a positive.
“Looking at it moving forward, we need to be a little more balanced.”
Brewer Brunson, Wyatt Rowland, Marcus Lane and Garrick Black have all had significant carries along with quarterback Burgess Jordan. Brunson leads the team with 59 carries for 601 yards and seven touchdowns followed by Rowland with 532 yards and six scores. Lane and Black have combined for 462 yards and four touchdowns.
Rowland also leads the team in receptions with 12 catches for 257 yards and a trio of scores.
Jordan has carried the ball 45 times for 197 yards and also has 651 yards passing. Against First Baptist he threw for 105 yards and the lone LMA touchdown. 
Defensively, the Swampcats have been stout as well, allowing an average of just 16.4 points per game. The 26 points against the Hurricanes was the most they had given up all season.
Brad Goodson leads the LMA defense with 53 tackles and 14 tackles for a loss. Grayson Gamble has a team-high seven sacks and two forced fumbles and is second on the team with 47 tackles. Caleb Heaton and Gabe Harris have 29 and 32 tackles, respectively. Justus Boone has also been causing havoc with 31 tackles and four sacks.
Jordan leads the secondary with two INTs and has 34 tackles.
“We’re playing fast,” Briggs said. “The biggest thing is we can’t lose containment and we can’t miss tackles and we’ve got to be able to avoid penalties that put us in bad spots.”

Turner, LMA girls tennis growing in 1st season together 

By Justin Driggers
Consulting Editor

Manning – Vassar Turner’s experience with tennis prior to this year was mostly watching her daughters play and an elective course shetook at the College of Charleston.
So, after taking over as the girls head tennis coach at Laurence Manning Academy, she knew she needed to do some research and also welcome any kind of help.
“I studied all summer and played with both of my daughters,” Turner said. “I enlisted the help of several friends who played and used them as sort of special coaches for a day.
“I also can’t say enough about Palmetto Tennis Center and Kyle Beynor. A lot of the girls already took private lessons from him, so when I called him after he watched our girls play the first two times, he said we had some great talent and wanted to work with us.”
Saturday clinics, charity work and other team-building exercises have also paved the way for what has been a successful season. The Lady Swampcats are in the midst of region play with just a few matches left.
“It’s been a quick season, but we’ve learned a lot and bonded as a team,” Turner said. “The girls like each other and encourage each other on and off the court. They help each other at school.
“I think that had a lot to do with us playing more cohesively as a team.”
LMA features a mostly veteran squad this season. The top singles player is sophomore Savannah South while junior Carrie Rickenbaker occupying the No. 2 spot. Katherine Burns is also a junior and the No. 3 player with sophomore Madison Shirley behind her. The fifth spot is occupied by junior Isabella Harris and senior Laura Helen Johnson as the No. 6 players.
Senior Sarah Saye Turner is in the No. 7 slot and junior Katherine Matthews rounds out the roster.
The doubles squads are made of South and Shirley at No. 1; Rickenbaker and Burns at No. 2 with Harris and Johnson at No. 3.
“I think the biggest thing for us moving forward is to just get these girls to continuously play throughout the year,” Turner said. “I think if we continue to do that and be together as a team, the camaraderie will continue and the winning will continue next year as well.”

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