PIEDMONT – Only 15 seconds remained when Dee Foster came down in the back of the end zone with Ryan Campbell’s 7-yard pass that enabled Laurens to defeat Woodmont, 28-24, in a game marred only by the fact that one team had to lose.
It was that good. No, it was that great.
The Raiders’ Duane Martin played a game for the ages. On the offensive platoon, at times, he looked like Jim Brown. On defense, at times, he looked like Lawrence Taylor.
Those two were greats in the NFL. Martin was great leading the Raiders to first place in Region 1-5A. He rushed for 145 yards in 18 carries, gobbling up 8.1 yards at a clip. The LDHS coaches will have to add them up from video, but Martin’s tackles probably added up to somewhere between a bushel and a peck.
Martin, beset by cramps near the end, gave it his all.
“He always does,” said Campbell. “Every game.”
Martin bore the exhaustion of a warrior. He couldn’t get a word out.
The game went back and forth from beginning to end, the lead changing hands six times. 0-7. 7-7. 7-10. 14-10. 14-17. 21-17. 21-24. 28-24. Somehow, in the final 15 seconds, Woodmont quarterback Dalton Bess managed to complete a 46-yard pass to Hayden Garbet at the Laurens 35. A pass interference call took the Wildcats to the 20, and an extra pass attempt with nothing on the clock finally ended it, and the Raiders bused back to Laurens in proud possession of a 4-0 region record, 5-1 overall.
“This,” said LDHS head coach Chris Liner, “was a whale of a football game. Anyone who stayed at home rather than watching the Raiders and the Wildcats play really missed a treat.
“We try to out-tough you. We didn’t out-tough Woodmont. They do a great job. Coach (Jet) Turner does a great job and has done a great job everywhere he’s been. … We were fortunate to make some plays at the end. … It was a great football game, a great momentum builder.”
Each team pounded the other as if firing off artillery barrages. Woodmont (5-2, 3-10) ran 59 plays. Laurens ran 56. Seven on each side were passes. On the pass that won it, Foster leaped up and pulled in the game-winner. For a split-second, his hold was precarious. In the next, he had it.
Laurens had touchdown drives of 85, 68, 57 and 68 yards. Woodmont’s scoring marches were 67, 29 (the game’s only field goal), 63 and 55.
The Wildcats won total offense (346-314), rushing (289-235) and time of possession (27:47-20:13). Two running backs, Rashun Kennedy and Joshua Kamoto, combined for 241 yards.
Undoubtedly, the loss was devastating for Woodmont, just as the victory was ecstatic for the Raiders.
Classics don’t happen often.
Laurens 7 7 0 14 -- 28
Woodmont 7 3 7 7 – 24
W – Nicholas Boatwright 7 run (Oscar Molina kick) 4:58 1st
L – Duane Martin 5 run (Jesus Esparza kick) 1:46 1st
W – Molina FG 22 3:20 2nd
L – Ryan Campbell 9 run (Esparza kick) 0:57 2nd
W – Rashun Kennedy 37 run (Molina kick) 6:39 3rd
L – Campbell 1 run (Esparza kick) 6:35 4th
W – Kennedy 23 run (Molina kick) 4:21 4th
L – Dee Foster 7 pass from Campbell (Esparza kick) 0:15 4th
RUSHING: Laurens, Martin 18-145, Zy Todd 9-36, Campbell 6-31, Totals 46-235; Woodmont, Kennedy 19-136, Joshua Kamoto 21-105, Boatwright 5-34, Totals 52-289.
PASSING: Laurens, Campbell 4-7-0 79; Woodmont, Dalton Bess 2-7-0 57.
RECEIVING: Laurens, Foster 3-77, Martin 1-2; Woodmont, Hayden Garbet 2-57.