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James Rawl - Photo courtesy of Laurens 55 Athletics

The River Bluff Gators scored on a 6-yard touchdown run in the third overtime to outlast the Laurens Raiders 21-14 on Friday night in Lexington.

For the first 46 minutes of play, the Raiders’ offense struggled to find a rhythm. That all changed when they took possession at their 11-yard line with 2:55 to play, down 7-0.

Laurens put together an 89-yard drive that ended on a 9-yard touchdown run by James Rawl with 1:40 to play. The 5-play, 89 yard drive was highlighted by a big reception by Pe’rel Shands to get the Raiders inside the Gators 10-yard line. A Roberto Luna PAT tied the game at 7-7.

The Raiders had one final chance to win the game in regulation but a 35-yard field goal attempt by Luna was wide right to send the game to overtime.

Both teams exchanged turnovers in the first overtime to keep the game at 7-7. River Bluff threw an interception and the Raiders fumbled.

On the first play of the second overtime, Gemire Darden scored from 10 yards out to give the Raiders a 14-7 lead.

River Bluff answered on their possession with a 12-yard touchdown pass from Hunter Sheppard to Apollos Cook to tie the game at 14.

In the third overtime, Gray Herring scored on a 6-yard run to give the Gators a 21-14 lead. Laurens got the ball to the 8-yard line but Rawl’s pass came up short in the end zone to end the game.

As the final score indicated, the game was close throughout, including statistically. Laurens outgained River Bluff 299-298. Laurens had 16 first downs and the Gators tallied 15. River Bluff was penalized 13 times for 95 yards, while the Raiders were flagged 8 times for 44 yards.

Laurens falls to 1-3 overall and will travel to North Augusta on Friday night for a game they picked up this week to take the place of the Daniel game. River Bluff improves to 2-2 overall.