Points differential is a poor method of predicting the outcome of a sporting event, but when Patrick Henry visits Laurens Academy in the first round of the SCISA 8-man football playoffs on Friday night, the difference is compelling for two teams that share 7-3 records.

The Crusaders and the Patriots have six common opponents. Both teams have won four of those games and lost two, but LA’s points differential is better in every single one.

Laurens Academy fared better by 42 points versus Holly Hill, 38 versus Palmetto Christian, 20 versus Clarendon Hall, 22 versus Cathedral, 22 versus Jefferson Davis and 32 versus King.

For the season, Laurens Academy has outscored Patrick Henry 448-407 and allowed 154 points to PHA’s 322. The Patriots shut out only their first opponent, Jefferson Davis, while the Crusaders have shut out the past three.

After losing to its first two opponents, Holly Hill Academy and Palmetto Christian, Laurens Academy has won seven of its last eight games. Patrick Henry has split its last four.

A look at the two teams’ statistics reveals more balance for the Patriots, principally due to the prolific numbers put up by LA senior quarterback Thomas Lowry, who leads the Crusaders in both passing and rushing.

Lowry has completed 138 out of 220 passes for 1,960 yards, with 37 TD passes and only 2 interceptions. He has rushed for 962 yards in 93 attempts, scoring 12 times and averaging 10.3 yards a carry.

Clarence Bertoli is Lowry’s top target, having caught 77 passes for 843 yards and 12 touchdowns.

The Crusaders’ leading tacklers are 8th grader Brett Young (99), Cal Robertson (93) and Judson Watkins (92).

Zack Mathis is Patrick Henry’s quarterback and, like Lowry, leads his team in both rushing and passing. Mathis, a junior, has completed 33 of 75 passes for 774 yards, with 11 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. He has rushed for 751 yards in 95 carries, averaging 4.0 yards a carry and scoring 13 times.

The Patriots have three others with significant rushing yards: John Griner (637), Peyton Ayer (540) and Austin Cone (447).

Griner is the leading receiver with 17 catches for 311 yards and 2 touchdowns.

The leading tacklers are Carter Rivers (63) and Josh Meyer (60).

The Estill school wears maroon and gold.