When a football game blows up, it is said that the loss is like “a punch in the gut.”
In Greenville’s 37-14 victory over Laurens Friday night, it was “a kick in the butt.” With the score tied, 14-14, and the Raiders backed up on their own 1-yard line, Jackson Martin’s punt bounced off the up back’s posterior and out of play, thus providing the Red Raiders with a safety, a 2-point lead, and the opening of floodgates on a cloudless night.
In Martin’s defense, with the line of scrimmage at the 1, space was tight and he had to get it away, even with a teammate uncomfortably close.
For the second week in a row, Laurens (0-2 , 0-2 Region 2-4A) lost by a decisive margin that didn’t seem that way.
“Our punt team has got to improve,” head coach Daryl Smith said. “The defense gave up 37 points, but they were defending a short field most of the night. I thought that defense played great, and we did not help them out all night long.”
Laurens came from two touchdowns behind in the first half on a pair of scoring tosses from James Rawl to Cayson Elledge, but the 23 points scored in the second half were all Greenville’s.
Oh, did the Red Raiders pile it on during the final 14 minutes, 48 seconds that began with that unfortunate punt. Laurens had begun two straight drives on its own 1 because Greenville (2-0, 2-0) downed punts there. The former stopped on the 1 as if Greenville’s Rush Sheppard had struck it with a pitching wedge. The latter had its progress stopped by a Red Raider player. Both took the gravel out of the LDHS gut.
“We couldn’t punch it out of there,” said Smith. “This team is a lot better than that 37-14 score. We had some great performances out on that field. We’ve got to do some things to help them out next week.”
About those floodgates.
Terrence Gist scored on an 18-yard dash, Chris Smith a 55-yard interception return and Preston Lounds a 10-yard run.
Significantly, Greenville shut down the Laurens rushing game – 29 attempts, 41 yards net – and sophomore quarterback Rawl had to turn mad bomber. He completed 18 passes for 174 yards, but he had to try 42, and the lone interception, noted above, was to disastrous effect.
For all those 37 points, the Red Raiders only produced 268 yards. Laurens, in losing by 23 points, had 218. Unfortunately, the Raiders lost a fumble, had an interception returned for a score and surrendered two blocked punts though only once had Greenville had to block it.
“We’ve got to create a few more things on offense,” Smith said, “and we’ve got to improve our special teams.”
G – Aziz Huff 54 pass from Prometheus Franklin (Landon Perdue kick) 3:30 1st
G – Huff 27 pass from Franklin (Perdue kick) 9:06 2nd
L – Cayson Elledge 21 pass from James Rawl (Brian Diaz kick) 5:11 2nd
L – Elledge 5 pass from Rawl (Diaz kick) 2:48 2nd
G – Safety (team) 2:48 3rd
G – Terrence Gist 18 run (Perdue kick) 8:41 4th
G – Chris Smith 55 interception return (Perdue kick) 3:40 4th
G – Preston Lounds 10 run (Perdue kick) 0:25 4th
Rushing – Greenville, Lounds 9-43, Khalique Holland 10-39; Laurens, Zy Todd 10-23, Jeremiah Fuller 9-12.
Passing – Greenville, Franklin 9-18-0 190; Laurens, Rawl 18-42-1 174.
Receiving – Greenville, Huff 6-150; Laurens, Elledge 7-77, Jayden McGowen 4-53, Fuller 3-26, Todd 2-19.