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Laurence Manning Academy develop an early lead and kept Wilson Hall at a safe distance all night long in a 42-21 varsity football win on Friday at Spencer Field.
The Swampcats finished the regular season with a record of 9-1 overall and 8-1 in SCISA 3A, good for second place under first-year head coach Austin Floyd. That sets LMA up for the possibility of a pair of home games in the state playoffs, which begin next Friday against Porter-Gaud.
"I mean we just have to focus on us," said Swampcats head coach Austin Floyd. "We want to be the best version of Laurence Manning football we can be. So that's a week-to-week, day-to-day, snap-to-snap thing in practice. We want to focus on us and put our guys in a position to be successful.",
For Wilson Hall, this loss was its final game of the season, ending with an overall record of 2-7 and 1-7 in SCISA 3A.
"I'm very proud, we played hard. I'm just proud of my guys. It wasn't the year we wanted, it wasn't the record we wanted, but they played hard and they competed every week. That's all I can ask for," said Wilson Hall head coach Adam Jarecki.
No postseason for the Barons means that Friday night would be the last high school football game for the team's seniors. When asked if they was anything he'd like to tell the seniors on his team, Jarecki said, "They are getting us back to where we need to be. They were as good of a group of leaders that we've ever had."
The Swampcats forced a quick 3-and-out series against the Barons and set up their offense at the 50-yard line. Laurence Manning put together an 8-play scoring drive that would be capped off with a 13-yard rushing touchdown from running back Wyatt Rowland to make it 7-0 with 3:59 left in the first quarter.
The Swampcats defense would come up huge on the next play from scrimmage, when defensive lineman Dalton Brown would recover a fumble and return it 43 yards for a touchdown, giving Laurence Manning a 14-0 lead with 3:41 left in the first quarter.
Following a facemask penalty on the kickoff, Wilson Hall would begin at the Swampcats 46 and put together an 8-play scoring drive highlighted by a 14-yard rushing touchdown from running back Graham VanPatten to cut the lead down to 14-7 with 11:49 left in the second quarter.
The Swampcats responded with an impressive 8-play, 50-yard scoring drive finished off by a 2-yard rushing touchdown from running back Trey Sharpe to extend their lead to 21-7 with 7:45 left in the second quarter. ?Wilson Hall quarterback Tate Sistare would open up the passing attack and lead the Barons down the field on an 8-play, 80-yard scoring drive capped off by a 20-yard rushing touchdown from running back Emory Moore to cut the lead to 21-14 with 1:36 left in the second quarter.
The Swampcats would not be satisfied, however, and would find the end zone one more time in the first half. Quarterback Burgess Jordan found wide receiver Gabe Harris on back-to-back completions, the first for 14-yards and the second a 31-yard touchdown pass to give Laurence Manning a 28-14 lead going into halftime.
Laurence Manning received the ball to begin the second half and scored quickly behind an explosive 35-yard touchdown run from Rowland to widen the lead to 35-14 with 10:02 left in the third quarter.
Wilson Hall responded with a time-consuming scoring drive, spanning 66 yards and 13 plays, ending with a 1-yard Sistare quarterback sneak for a touchdown, cutting the lead to 35-21 with 2:30 left in the third, nearly taking 8 minutes off of the clock.
Laurence Manning would put together a conclusive 7-play, 66-yard scoring drive capped off by an 8-yard rushing touchdown from Sharpe in the fourth quarter.
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