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Laurence Manning High School
Manning

Laurence Manning Preparing For Homecoming “Must Win” Against Pinewood Prep

By Billy G. Baker

Publisher

Manning—No doubt Laurence Manning’s 26-23 loss to Ben Lippen on September, 29 will have implications on the seedings for the upcoming SCISA AAA football playoffs as the Swampcats fumbled on the six inch line with under a minute to go in the game giving the Falcons a hard fought win.

The loss put’s undefeated Hammond in line for a top seeding, and depending on what happens over the next three weeks of the regular season, Ben Lippen with just a region loss to Hammond, and Laurence Manning, who lost to both Hammond and Ben Lippen, the situation could be the Swampcats in the same bracket with Ben Lippen but there is still a lot of football to be played, and anything can happen once the playoffs start.

The Swampcats (5-2) were scheduled to play at Hilton Head Christian on October, 6 but the Eagles were down to 23 players in their last game, and injuries to five players in that game, caused them to forfeit the game to the Swampcats. The off week will give LMA one extra week to prepare for a Homecoming game against Pinewood Prep the week of October, 13th.

“Our games with Pinewood Prep have always been very physical and very competitive,” said LMA head coach Robbie Briggs. “It could come down to who has the ball last. We are two similar teams in that we both believe strongly in the weight room. We need to rebound in a strong way from the game with Ben Lippen.”

Wide receiver Taylor Lee (6-0, 165, and 4.5) displayed why he is one of the few SCISA players in South Carolina ranked in the HSSR Top 100 list, for all schools, when he had 9 catches for 177 yards and three touchdowns against Ben Lippen. Lee scored on catches of 70 and 50 yards but his clutch touchdown catch on a fourth and six has probably earned him a future spot in the coveted Clarendon County Hall of Fame.

“In all honesty I have never coached a harder working and more competitive player then Taylor Lee and I had several major college players at Manning High,” said Coach Briggs. “Taylor reminds me a lot of Fred Bennett and they both run in the 4.5 forty range. Taylor has a competitive spirit you just can’t coach. He has tremendous soft hands and rarely misses a ball he touches. He’s at his best in big games. He also reminds me of my former teammate Jud Heldreth at Manning (1988) who went on to play at Wofford College.”

Lee earned all-state honors by the HSSR in the sports of football, basketball and baseball last year. He is one of those rare athletes who has fun playing whatever sport is in season. He has a hard time gaining weight because he never stops to rest his body for any period of time. On many days in the summer he went to weight training in the morning, played on a three-on-three basketball league in the afternoon, and then went and played second base for the Manning American Legion team that night. On the season, Lee has caught 48 passes for 687 yards and 14 touchdowns including two returned punts and one kickoff return as well.

Coach Briggs is still high on the Swampcats chances for success this season. “Our biggest challenge right now is to find a way to stay healthy and we must cut down on the fumbles, especially at the one yard line,” he said. “We had a blown coverage situation that cost us a touchdown against Ben Lippen and we have to do a better job of staying in position and playing fundamentally sound football. We can still accomplish all our goals. We have a very talented and hard working group of kids here at Laurence Manning.”

The quarterback position has been shared by senior Braydon Osteen (5-9, 172) and sophomore Burgress Jordan (5-10, 170). The duo combined to throw for 274 yards and three touchdowns against Ben Lippen. Jordan can also play free safety on defense.

“We truly have a young team and we start only four or five seniors and they are giving us great leadership but next year we will return 8 starters on offense and 9 on defense so while things still look very good for us this season we are also looking forward to next year also,” said Coach Briggs.

On defense senior outside linebacker Dalton Holcombe has led the tackle index with 54 tackles, 11 TFL including two sacks. Holcombe had 8 solo tackles against Ben Lippen and 3 TFL. Talented junior strong safety Jake Jordan (5-11, 170) has 43 tackles, 8 TFL and one sack. Senior inside linebacker Brent Jordan has 40 tackles, 5 TFL, and two interceptions. Junior corner back Brewer Brunson (5-8, 160) is having a good season with 34 tackles, 3 TFL and one interception. Junior defensive end Brad Goodson (6-3, 215) is contributing with 30 tackles, 12 TFL, and one sack.

The offensive stats leaders other than Lee include Osteen who has completed 57 of 100 passes for 920 yards and 11 touchdowns. Jordan has completed 17 of 34 passes for 328 yards and four touchdowns and he has rushed for 312 yards on 71 carries and 7 touchdowns. The next top rusher thus far is Garrett Black with 285 yards on 17 carries and four scores.

Behind HSSR Player of the Year candidate Taylor Lee in receptions are Grayson Dennis who has 10 catches for 125 yards and Jake Jordan who has four catches for 123 yards and a score.

Coach Briggs is very high on junior h-back Grayson Gamble (6-3, 215) who was injured in the Hammond game and is just returning to the field along with sophomore left tackle Shane Stephens Jr. (5-11, 245), a prospect with a bright future. “We should have Grayson back for the Pinewood Prep game and he has a huge upside and Shane Stephens is developing into very good offensive linemen,” said Coach Briggs.

Some other starters contributing to the Swampcat’s success include slot receiver sophomore Wyatt Rowland, junior running back Garrett Black who has also been slowed by injuries and senior receiver Grayson Dennis (6-1, 170). The offensive line consists of junior JD Burroughs (6-0, 238), Stephens, junior Kodi Reaves (6-0, 216), J.T. Stanley, and junior Jay Godwin (6-0, 212).

David Wilder is a top long snapper and filled in well for Gamble while he has been out and he also plays linebacker on defense. Morgan Morris is a starting free safety and Lee flips to the secondary as well. Jackson Lee handles punting and kicking duties. Ryder Hudson sees action in the defensive line.

 

 

Tennis, Volleyball Teams At LMA Reviewed

From Staff Reports

Manning—The Laurence Manning girl’s tennis team is under the direction of five year coaching veteran Lin Ham who is proud of the fact he has two daughters in the program.

Senior Mason Ham, on the team since the 7th grade, plays number one for the Lady Swampcats and her sophomore sister Madison plays four singles. Mason is looking into playing tennis at the next level and she is looking at USC, USC Sumter and Newberry as possible choices.

The number two singles player is senior Eliza Davis who has two years’ experience on the team. Carley Tsukaias is a senior playing three singles and the five and six spots are held down by Carrie Rickenbacker and Catherine Burns.

 Mason Ham and Davis comprise one doubles while Madison Ham and Tsukaias make up the number two doubles team.

The tennis team has defeated Thomas Sumter twice this season and they have competed against teams from Carolina Academy, Wilson Hall, and Trinity-Byrnes. The team is looking forward to the playoffs that begin on October, 16th.

“I enjoy coaching because it gives me the opportunity to teach tennis to the girl’s and to teach them about being competitive and having fun at the same time,” said Coach Lin. “I am the one who stresses out, not my players. It’s not about me; it’s about the girls learning to compete and having fun.”

Coach Lin is assisted by his wife Katie and Vassar Turner.

Grace Matthews Returns To LMA As Head Volleyball Coach

Grace Beatson, who got married and became Grace Matthews this past May, enjoyed success as a volleyball, basketball and softball player at LMA so it was a natural thing for her to want to go into coaching at her alma mater.

“We are having a rebuilding season and still looking for our first win,” said Coach Matthews. “We have definitely improved throughout the season and we knew it would be a returning season with only one returning starter from last year. The girls are working hard and having fun and we are building towards the future.”

The team consists of 10 hardworking players. The captain of the team is junior Libero Kayla Acord. Other starters include: 8th grade setter Perry Lee Love-Hicks, sophomore middle hitter Madelyn Richburg, junior all-around player Trinity Harrington, junior middle hitter Maggie Josey and freshman all-around player Bailey Moore. Freshman Mary Claire Lee sees a lot of playing time on the back row,

Other members of the team are freshman setter Madisyn Hudson, junior middle hitter Sarah Faye Turner and sophomore Jamey Williamson.

The squad has upcoming matches with Orangeburg-Prep and Florence Christian before concluding the season later in October. Coach Matthews is assisted by her sister Courtney Beatson. 

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