Hillcrest’s long touchdown run at the end of the first half proved to be a prelude of what was to come.
The Rams hit Laurens with four third-quarter touchdowns and thumped the Raiders 56-14 on Friday night.
Hillcrest (7-1, 4-0) took control of Region 1-AAAA with the victory over Laurens (4-4, 3-1).
“The third quarter is very important to us because last two times we played them, Laurens was able to come back in the second half and beat us,” Hillcrest coach Greg Porter said.
Late in the second quarter, Laurens reached the Hillcrest 5 with an opportunity to tie the score at 14. A series of penalties, however, forced a missed field goal attempt.
The teams swapped punts, and that’s when Hillcrest took over the game.
Quarterback Collin Sneed broke from the pocket and ran 54 yards for a touchdown with four seconds remaining in the half. That gave the Rams a 21-7 lead.
Hillcrest scored twice to start the second half without the offense running a play.
Brian Spurgeon took a short kickoff 53 yards for a touchdown, and then Ki’Jana Madden returned a punt 48 yards for a 35-7 lead.
“Special teams got us started, and it just went from there,” Porter said.
Laurens fumbled on the next snap, and Madden caught at 15-yard touchdown pass from Sneed three plays later.
Madden capped the quarter with a 1-yard touchdown run, and the Rams led 49-14.
Jacquavis Ballenger scored Hillcrest’s final touchdown on a 1-yard run in the fourth quarter.
Laurens scored first when Quay Bunch took Quinn Suber’s pass 17 yards for a 7-0 lead at 6:53 of the first quarter.
Isaiah Lewis tied the score later in the quarter on a 39-yard run and then put Hillcrest ahead for good by catching a 2-yard touchdown pass from Sneed. That play followed a Laurens fumble.
“We had a good game plan,” Laurens coach Greg Lawson said. “But you have to get out of your game plan when you give them the ball on a short field like we did several times.”