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Swampcats face biggest test yet on road against First Baptist

By TIM LEIBLE
tim@theitem.com
Posted 10/4/19

The Laurence Manning Academy football team has gotten off to a nearly picture-perfect start to its season.

The Swampcats are 5-0 on the season fresh off a SCISA 3A win over Ben Lippen, 26-7. LMA has its biggest test of the season on Friday as it …

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Swampcats face biggest test yet on road against First Baptist

Posted

The Laurence Manning Academy football team has gotten off to a nearly picture-perfect start to its season.

The Swampcats are 5-0 on the season fresh off a SCISA 3A win over Ben Lippen, 26-7. LMA has its biggest test of the season on Friday as it hits the road to Charleston face off against First Baptist. Despite all of its success, Laurence Manning head coach Austin Floyd knows the Hurricanes aren't just going to hand them a victory.

"We're still trying to just take it a week at a time. (The success) helps, to prove that you're capable of playing and winning games when you play well on Friday night, but this Friday is a different team and a new challenge and a new test," said Floyd. "We've gotta try to take what we've done well in the past and try to overcome the mistakes we've made in the past when we play this Friday."

First Baptist is also out to an excellent start this season. The Hurricanes' only loss came last week against 3A Goliath Hammond, which beat them for the state title last season. The Skyhawks handed the Hurricanes a 55-7 beatdown.

Offensively, First Baptist has one of the more balanced attacks LMA will see this season. Will Daniel has had a strong season at quarterback, throwing for 1,310 yards and 11 touchdowns with four interceptions. The Hurricane backfield is led by Davian Brown, who has rushed for 304 yards and seven touchdowns. First Baptist has two primary targets in the passing game with McKay Wilson and Sincere Brown. Brown has 578 yards and five scores, while Wilson has 492 yards and six touchdowns.

"First Baptist is the most dynamic team offensively that we've seen at this point," said Floyd. "The Sincere kid that plays receiver is a really good player. They do a really good job of trying to isolate him and get him the ball, and he's not the only one. They've got a handful of guys that can catch things and do things with it after."

Floyd knows First Baptist has a lot of weapons, so the biggest key is making it earn every point and avoid the big plays.

"Our guys are going to have to make plays when we get an opportunity, and the biggest thing is we want to try to make them drive the length of the field and limit the explosives," said the LMA head coach. "We're not the kind of team that's going to get into a shootout. We want to run the ball and shorten the game and limit the amount of time the other teams get the ball."

The Swampcats are led offensively by Wyatt Rowland, who is coming off another great game against Ben Lippen. He caught seven passes for 173 yards and two scores, while also rushing for 100 yards on 14 carries. Rowland is looking forward to having the chance to prove himself against Frist Baptist.

"That's always something I want to do. I want to play the best, and prove that I'm the best," said Rowland. "My confidence is high. I'm not going to boast or anything, but I'm going to come into this like any other game and take care of business."

Floyd and the Swampcats know this would be a big win for LMA, as it has a chance to establish itself as one of the best in the region. That being said, Floyd knows there's also a chance that Laurence Manning sees these Hurricanes again in the postseason, and he knows that win is a little more important.

"It's a big game and it would mean a lot, but I'm willing to bet that if we stay healthy and they stay healthy, win or lose this Friday, we're probably going to have to play them again," said the first-year head coach. "That's a situation where we want to win this Friday, but if we have to play them again, I'd like to win that one a little bit more.

"It does go a long way though," continued Floyd on the importance of a win on Friday night. "We'd go to 6-0 and keep building that momentum, but at the same time, like I told the guys this week, we don't want to get fat and lazy. You have to stay hungry and hungry dogs run faster."