Laurens Academy was lights out in a 44-6 victory over Clarendon Hall on Friday night.
One of the light standards at Todd Kirk Field went out in the second quarter. The game was only briefly stopped, but the outage had nothing to do with the Saints’ night-long misery.
After dropping close ones to begin the season – 18-12 to Holly Hill Academy and 42-38 to Palmetto Christian – LA, led on offense by Thomas Lowry and Clarence Bertoli and on defense by a rampaging line, dominated the contest from its outset.
“We deserved this,” Bertoli said. “We’ve been working real hard in practice, day in and day out, and the results showed up on the field.”
“That was a great team victory,” Kirk said. “We’ve got a lot of seniors who handled those two losses very well. The whole team came out and played so hard. I can’t compliment them too much. They have learned to play hard and play together.”
Lowry completed 26 out of 34 passes for 300 yards and four touchdowns and rushed for 153 yards in 16 carries, with two touchdowns. Bertoli made 15 catches for 131 yards. Two of Diamonte Grant’s four catches went for scores. Jonas Smith and Cal Robertson also hauled in touchdown passes.
Grant, Caio Rita and Will Jones made frequent forays into the Clarendon Hall backfield, so many that the Saints netted 6 yards from their 18 rushing attempts. Three quarterbacks combined to complete 6 of 17 passes for 55 yards.
Put it all together and Laurens Academy (1-2) gained 308 yards passing and 170 rushing.
It was 38-0 when Clarendon Hall (1-2) finally scored on a 22-yard pass from Kylic Horton to Colt Gibbons with 10:50 remaining in the game.
Horton had scored five touchdowns a week earlier in Clarendon Hall’s 44-28 win over Cathedral Academy, the Crusaders’ next opponent. With the exception of a long interception return that set up the Saints’ lone score, the 6-5 Horton, most often a wide receiver, was silent. He caught only one pass for 10 yards, rushed for 18 and passed for 34.
“I think our rush had as much to do with stopping [Horton] as anything,” Kirk said. “This was the best defense we’ve played in a long time.”