Longtime rivals Greenwood and Laurens met again Friday night with the Region 1-AAAA championship at stake. And when push came to shove, the visiting Eagles proved to be the better team.
Evin Sims rushed for a touchdown and threw for another, and the Eagles held off Laurens at K.C. Hanna Stadium, completing an undefeated regular season with a 24-7 victory.
Greenwood, No. 1 in The Greenville News Upstate rankings, is 11-0 and finished 7-0 in the region. The loss was the first for Laurens (8-3, 6-1) since its last non-region game against Woodruff.
“Our goals are still out there in front of us,” Greenwood coach Gene Cathcart said. “It’s a good feeling. We’ll take a deep breath for the ride across the lake and then probably figure out the playoff brackets and then be ready to go again.”
Greenwood took command simply by keeping the Raiders offense off the field in the first half. The Eagles held Laurens to two first downs the entire half – both on the Raiders’ first possession – and converted one third-down play after another to extend possessions and build a 17-7 lead.
Sims, who has been lately bothered by injuries, directed an offense that got 133 yards rushing from Lorenzo Mathis, including a 57-yard touchdown on his first carry of the game.
Laurens’ Rodrick Talley had 121 yards rushing, including a 14-yard touchdown run in the second quarter that tied the score at 7. Laurens’ quarterbacks did not complete a pass and had one intercepted.
“I felt we made some mistakes, and you can’t make mistakes against Greenwood,” Laurens coach Greg Lawson said. “They’re a very opportunistic football team.”