Second chance

Swampcats get another crack at Ben Lippen


Since there are just nine SCISA 3A football teams, each of the teams -- with the exception of Orangeburg Prep - play each other during the regular season. Of course, that means once the state playoffs start that teams will be meeting for the second time.

Laurence Manning Academy, coming off back-to-back hard-fought battles against Wilson Hall, gets its second shot at defending state champion Ben Lippen in the semifinals on Friday in Columbia.

It will be LMA's second visit to Columbia, the first ending up in a 26-23 loss. Swampcats head coach Robbie Briggs likes the fact his team has already faced BL.

"It just helps you with familiarity," said Briggs, whose team takes a 9-2 record into the contest against the 7-2 Falcons. "It helps you when you have a team that has a lot of transfers that you know what you're up against.

"We have an idea of what the speed of the game will be and how big their offensive line is," he added. "We know the speed of the running back (Kyle Wright), what the quarterback can do (Tradd Beatty). It helps us in that aspect."

Ben Lippen received a first-round bye as the No. 2 seed in the 3A playoffs. In its final regular-season game though, it had an offensive explosion in a 52-14 victory over Cardinal Newman.

Beatty completed 23 of 25 passes for 508 yards and four touchdowns. BL had three receivers with over 100 yards. Ryan Fleming had six catches for 151 yards and two touchdowns, Trey Norman had seven catches for 138 yards and a score and Will Cureton had nine catches for 131 yards.

For good measure, Wright, who recently decommitted from Temple to open up his recruiting again, had 161 yards and a TD on 14 carries.

Beatty has completed 120 of 163 passes for 2,293 yards and 21 scores. Wright has rushed for 1,711 yards and 21 touchdowns on 132 attempts.

Laurence Manning had two nail biters against Wilson Hall. In its final regular-season game, LMA beat WH 14-13 on the road on a last-play touchdown pass from Braydon Osteen to Taylor Lee. That set up a rematch last week in the first round of the playoffs and the Swampcats won 20-14 in overtime.

"I think anytime you win games like that it builds up your confidence," Briggs said. "We did what we had to do to win the games in the end. Wilson Hall played outstanding in both games, yet we hung in there and made the plays when needed."

In the first meeting against the Falcons, Briggs pointed out his squad fumbled the ball away at the Ben Lippen 1-yard line and also had a touchdown called back due to a penalty. He said Laurence Manning needs to eliminate such mistakes on Friday.

"It's important for us to win the field position battle and we can't have administrative penalties," he said. "Also, we have to play well on first down, and we can't miss tackles on defense."