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The Laurens Raiders are making measurable progress. The trouble is that all the remaining tasks are tough.

Daryl Smith’s team is coming off confidence-building victories over Eastside and Aiken. At 2-2 (1-2 in Region 2-4A), the task at hand is to win, not just compete, against the remaining opponents. They figure to be underdogs at Greer on Friday night and at home against Gilbert and Hillcrest afterwards.

It’s not as if the Yellow Jackets are going to take the Raiders likely. A Laurens victory would knock Greer (3-2, 2-1) out of the playoffs and give Greenwood the region title. As it stands, Greenwood has defeated Greenville, the Red Raiders have defeated Greer, and the Yellow Jackets have defeated the Eagles.

Nothing would be better for the Raiders than to bust open that logjam.

Greer is predominantly a passing team with a rushing attack that features E.J. Bradford, who ran for 144 yards in his most recent game, to keep the defenses honest and open the passing lanes to Hollis Crosby, whose favorite receivers are Jaleel Skinner (6-4, 215) and Miller Dearmond (6-2, 182).

“Skinner is a tall kid who can go up and get the ball,” Smith said. “Dearmond sometimes lines up at tight end. He’s as good as the other, and the quarterback (Crosby) is also really good.

“Greer has a very good, well-coached offensive line. They have really gone back to power running in recent weeks.”

What’s it going to take to stop the Yellow Jackets?

“First off, our defensive backs have to get their keys and keep their eyes out of the backfield,” Smith said. “The linebacker keys are important. They can’t afford to ‘get lost’ on the counter.

“Offensively, we have to establish our running game. They have a lot of athletes in the secondary, so we’re going to have to establish that first and just play a good, solid game. They don’t make very many mistakes.”