The night of Oct. 17, 2019, was a rather memorable one at Todd Kirk Field.
It wasn’t enough that Laurens Academy defeated the Jefferson Davis Raiders by a score of 70-44.
As a unit of measure, the highest scoring game in the history of the National Football League occurred when the Washington Redskins defeated the New York Giants on Nov. 27, 1966, by a score of 72-41. The Crusaders and Raiders combined for 114 points; the Redskins and Giants had 113.
Normally, the S.C. Independent Schools Association and the NFL have little in common. Notably, LA and JDA were playing eight to a side, a game that combines the regimentation of American football with the wide, open spaces of football elsewhere in the world, the one Americans call soccer.
As they say on infomercials, but that’s not all, folks.
Laurens Academy’s junior quarterback, Thomas Lowry, passed for 374 yards and rushed for 208. As a team, the Crusaders passed for 374 yards and rushed for 208.
Back in 1966, Washington’s Sonny Jurgensen didn’t even come close to that.
A web search failed to come up with a single incidence of one player accounting for every single yard gained by his team in a game. It has probably happened somewhere – out on the high plains of western Nebraska or the frozen tundra of Alaska – but it’s not notably documented.
Kirk, the Crusaders’ head coach considered the feat something of an accident, certainly unintended.
“At the end,” Kirk recalled, “it was a matter of Thomas sealing the victory. They may have gotten within two scores on us at one time.
“In the process of a ballgame, particularly a region game, you would never try to call a game from the sideline to try to get a player as many personal feats as possible. You’re simply trying to win the game. It simply turned out that way. There were option plays where the handoff or pitch wasn’t open. At some level, Thomas gained those rushing yards because he took what was open. Of course, it’s not unusual for every ball to be thrown by the quarterback. That was a pretty good accomplishment, all right. You would never try to keep stats on it to get a kid personal accomplishments.”
In another LA game, Lowry actually had more net yards than the team – the only rushing attempt by any other player lost four – but that performance was less prolific and the Crusaders lost the game.
As Lowry threw 37 passes and completed 27, he had to have teammates to catch them. Clarence Bertoli snagged 12 of them, Cal Robertson hauled in nine, Diamonte Grant retrieved seven and Caio Rita caught one. Rita made the best of his, a 57-yard touchdown.
To fill in the 2-way scorecard, Lowry made 11 tackles and intercepted a pass and returned it for a touchdown.