Laurens Academy boasted the most successful football team in the county this fall. Only the Crusaders managed to complete a full schedule in the year of COVID-19. LA advanced to the SCISA semifinals and finished the season with an 8-4 record.
On the other hand, the Crusaders only put eight players on the field at a time, and when selections for the Laurens County Touchdown Club’s all-county team were whittled down, Clinton (3-3) had nine members, Laurens (2-4) nine and Laurens Academy seven.
Laurens Academy had lots of power in its punches, though.
The quarterback is the Crusader’s double-threat dynamo, Thomas Lowry, who passed for 2,697 yards and rushed for 1,578. By land, he scored 19 touchdowns. He aired out 47.
The running backs are Jeremiah Fuller (337 yards rushing, 130 receiving) of Laurens and Clinton’s Shy Kinard (657 yards, 7 TDs). The wide receivers are LA’s Clarence Bertoli (109 catches for 1,111 yards), and a pair of Raiders, Jayden McGowan (23-444) and Cayson Elledge (16-275, 6 TDs). The tight end is LA’s Diamonte Grant (19-365, 10 TDs).
Across the line are Crusader Reles Littleton, Red Devils Kade Haywald and Peyton Pitts, and Raiders Grayson Talent and Cole England.
The “all-purpose” member is Clinton’s Kimon Quarles, who was a valuable rusher (184 yards, 4 TDs) and receiver (9-98, 2 TDs). Laurens’ Brian Diaz, who was 16-for-16 on extra points and 1-2 on field goals, filled the kicking slot.
The defensive platoon is strong across the front, thanks to Marcus Chalmers (3 sacks) and Hezekiah Kinard of Clinton, Carson Venable (79 tackles, 19 for loss) of Laurens Academy and Jon Brown of Laurens. The linebackers are Gemire Darden of Laurens, 8th grader Brett Young (127 tackles) of Laurens Academy and Bryson James (50.5 tackles) of Clinton.
The defensive backs are C.K. Vance and Jykorie Gary of Clinton, Nick Humphries of LDHS and Cal Robertson (118 tackles, caused 5 fumbles) of Laurens Academy.
The all-county team will be honored at the Laurens County Touchdown Club’s annual banquet on Wednesday, Dec. 2, at The Ridge at 7 p.m. The county’s Coach and Player of the Year will be announced. The featured speaker is the head football coach at South Carolina State University, Buddy Pough.
Eight all-county players were also on the 2019 team. They are Lowry, Grant, Robertson and Littleton of Laurens Academy; Quarles, Shy Kinard and Gary from Clinton; and England of LDHS.