COLUMBIA – The Laurence Manning Academy football team’s running game was totally ineffective at Ben Lippen Friday night, but in the second half, the Swampcats were still within reach of pulling out a win.
LMA stayed alive in the second half with a just-good-enough passing game, along with a Ben Lippen fumbled punt, an onside kick recovery, an interception and a safety.
Down 26-23 with less than two minutes remaining, the Swampcats had the ball at the Ben Lippen 30-yard line. On fourth down and long, quarterback Braydon Osteen fired a pass that landed right in the hands of Falcons defender Manning Turbeville.
The Ben Lippen offense knelt down on the ball for the win.
“I think the difference in the ballgame was that their defensive front really played well,” said LMA head coach Robbie Briggs, whose team drops to 2-2 in SCISA 3A play and 4-2 overall. “They got us off schedule on a couple of plays, but I’m very proud off how our kids played.”
Osteen went 16-for-24 in passing for 175 yards with one interception. All three of his touchdown passes fell into the hands of Taylor Lee, who had nine catches for 161 yards.
Ben Lippen got 176 rushing yards from Kyle Wright and 159 receiving yards from Trey Norman.
“It was a crazy game,” Ben Lippen head coach Derek White said. “When you don’t play good but you win, it’s a great day.”
The Falcons took a 26-14 lead on a 77-yard Wright run early in the third quarter.
The Swampcats scored on Lee’s third touchdown reception of the night, a 44-yarder, to cut Ben Lippen’s lead to 26-21 midway through the third.
Midway through in the fourth, Laurence Manning drove all the way to the 1-yard line. Osteen tried to push the ball in, but fumbled on the half-yard mark.
The Swampcats defense stiffened as the Falcons went nowhere on that series, and when the center snapped the ball through the end zone on a punt formation for a safety, the Swampcats had one last chance.
LMA took the free kick at the Ben Lippen 44, and drove to the 30 before the Falcons and Turbeville came down with the game-clinching interception.
“Our defense played great. Our kids fought their tails off,” White said. “Homecoming you never play great, but every championship team wins a close game like this.”
Laurence Manning took a 14-7 lead on two long pass plays. First, Burgess Jordan found Wyatt Rowland for a 58-yard connection that set up Osteen’s 6-yard TD pass to Lee at the 3:56 mark of the first quarter. Osteen found Lee again for a 48-yard touchdown strike with a minute to go in the first quarter.
Ben Lippen who improved to 4-1 in 3A and 5-2 overall, scored twice in the second quarter to take a 19-14 lead at halftime.
Tradd Beaty found Trey Norman for a 15-yard touchdown pass at the 5;27 mark. Beatty’s 77-yard pass play to Norman at the 1:58 mark of the second gave Ben Lippen a 5-point advantage.
“Defensively I thought we played lights out in the second half,” Briggs said. “But we’ll continue to improve and we’ll get a couple of kids back next week and we’ll be ready to roll in the playoffs.”