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Laurence Manning out to stay undefeated as it prepares for Porter-Gaud

By TIM LEIBLE
tim@theitem.com
Posted 9/20/19

The Laurence Manning Academy has gotten off to a great start under first-year head coach Austin Floyd, ripping off three straight wins to open the year.

The Swampcats will put that undefeated record on the line as they play host to host …

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Laurence Manning out to stay undefeated as it prepares for Porter-Gaud

Posted

The Laurence Manning Academy has gotten off to a great start under first-year head coach Austin Floyd, ripping off three straight wins to open the year.

The Swampcats will put that undefeated record on the line as they play host to host Porter-Gaud on Friday in a key SCISA 3A matchup.

LMA comes into the game with two 3A wins under its belt and will have a chance to establish itself as a real contender with another win. While important, Floyd isn't putting any added pressure on his players.

"We let our guys know this is going to be a tough game, and we expect it to be a game that's won in the fourth quarter, but these are the kind that you want to be a part of," said Floyd. "At the end of the day, we wanna win, but early matchups like this will have big implications, but it's not going to make or break us either way. If we lose, we still have six games left and if we win, we'll still have six games left."

Laurence Manning has had a ton of success pounding the rock this season, as Wyatt Rowland, Burgess Jordan and Trey Sharpe have all run extremely well through three games. Floyd said the success on the ground starts with a great group of blockers.

"We're blocking for each other, man," said the LMA head coach. "Not only is the offensive line doing a good job, but our skill guys are doing a good job. Our receivers, the backs, they're being unselfish, and we're able to get it to a couple of different guys, but it doesn't work unless they block for each other."

LMA will look to keep running the ball to control the clock as its faces a pass-happy Porter-Gaud team. The Cyclones only needed six completions to put up 211 yards and two scores through the air in their 55-19 win over Wilson Hall last week. They added 178 yards on the ground on just 21 carries, which provides an interesting challenge to the LMA defense.

Floyd said the priority will be slowing down that running game, as the Porter-Gaud passing attack is built on the back of its rushing attack.

"Their quarterback (Matt Kelly) is probably the best one we've seen," said Floyd. "We're going to have to play our best game yet to be competitive. Defensively the biggest thing is sitting down and stopping the run, because most of the pass is off of their run. It's kind of like us; if someone stops our run, the passing game probably isn't going to be there."

P-G is 2-1 overall and 1-1 in 3A play. The Cyclones lost to 3A Cardinal Newman 28-14 and edged defending SCISA 2A state champion Florence Christian School 35-28 to open the season. LMA beat FCS 32-14 last week.

Jordan completed 5 of 7 passes for 155 and two touchdowns against FCS. He also caught a 27-yard TD pass.

While the playoff implications are important, Floyd said a win would provide a major confidence boost.

"It would be awesome," said Floyd on getting the third 3A win. "I don't think we've played Porter-Gaud for two years because of hurricanes, so we're very excited to play them. It would certainly build our momentum and kind of prove our case of what I already know: that we're capable of competing in 3A, and that the kids know that they're capable of competing in 3A.

"The biggest thing is trying to make believers out of themselves," continued the LMA head coach. "At the end of the day, we want the community to believe in us, but it only matters what our kids think and what our coaches think."