In a 42-14 Homecoming victory over J.L. Mann, Laurens quarterback Ryan Campbell didn’t pass often, but he passed well. He didn’t run often, either, but he ran well.
The senior wound up 10 times and threw seven strikes Friday night. Those seven completions added up to 252 yards. Dee Foster caught four of them, and the calculator added up to 140. Three of Campbell’s completions were for 79, 51, and 50 yards.
The Patriots hit a bit of a tough patch letting Foster, Jayden McGowan and Quin Patterson get behind them.
Campbell, the Raiders’ leading rusher for the season, gained 105 yards in 11 carries, as well.
“It was a lot of fun slinging it out there,” he said, “but we have a lot of work to get ready for T.L. Hanna next week.”
Laurens (6-1, 5-0 Region 1-5A) can win the region with a victory next Friday in the friendly confines of K.C. (not T.L.) Hanna Stadium, where T.L. (not K.C.) Hanna will also pay a visit. The Raiders are 4-0 at home.
“We got better this week,” Campbell said. “I think we built a lot of confidence in our throwing game, and I’m excited about where we’re going from here.”
Mann (0-8, 0-5) lost its 22nd game in a row and never led this one, but the Patriots trailed by only one at the end of the first quarter after quarterback Noah Staples found Lonnie Booker for an 80-yard touchdown pass.
That was enough of that foolishness. Laurens scored the next 33 points, and in the second quarter, Campbell connected with Dee Foster on a 79-yarder of their own. The same connection, with 15 seconds left, had lifted the Raiders to a 28-24 victory at Woodmont the week before.
Cade Liner’s interception set up the first LDHS score. Mark McGowan returned another theft of Staples, who completed 10 out of 22 for 201 yards, for a 25-yard touchdown that pushed the Raider edge to 34-6 midway through the third quarter.
A week ahead of what promises be a battle royal, Laurens head coach Chris Liner got to rest his regulars and deploy his reserves.
“The goal is to get better every week,” he said. “The teams that are playing for meaningful things at the end of the year get better every week.
“Football’s such a grind. It’s tough, and as the season moves on, it’s hard to stay focused because there are so many things going on. … I was happy with tonight. We were able to do a lot of things we hadn’t had a chance to do a lot of.”
J.L. Mann 6 0 8 0 – 14
Laurens 7 20 13 2 – 42
L – Zy Todd 2 run (Jesus Esparza kick) 2:30 1st
M – Lonnie Booker 80 pass from Noah Staples (kick failed) 2:06 1st
L – Ryan Campbell 7 run (Esparza kick) 11:15 2nd
L – Dee Foster 79 pass from Campbell (Esparza kick) 7:31 2nd
L – Todd 1 run (kick failed) 1:17 2nd
L – Mark McGowan 25 interception return (Esparza kick) 10:35 3rd
L – Jordan Woodruff 28 run (kick failed) 7:05 3rd
M – Booker 23 pass from Staples (Saadig Murray pass from Staples) 0:52 3rd
L – Safety
RUSHING: Mann, S’maj Johnson 5-17, Thomas Dawkins-Smith 5-7, Deonte Sloan 2-7, Totals 15-2; Laurens, Campbell 11-105, Todd 12-75, Woodruff 6-61, Jeremiah Fuller 2-22, Ty Robertson 2-21, Garrett Parker 4-13, Totals 42-293.
PASSING: Mann, Staples 10-22-3 201; Laurens, Campbell 7-10-0 252.
RECEIVING: Mann, Booker 4-122; Laurens, Foster 4-140, Jayden McGowan 2-62, Quin Patterson 1-50.