LAUREL— Keon Howard scored twice before a packed house at R.H. Watkins Stadium on Friday, leading Laurel past Wayne County 19-13 on Friday night.The win gives the Golden Tornadoes their second straight Region 3 5A title.
Laurel struck first on its second offensive drive of the game and capped off an 11-play, 74-yard drive with Howard running in a 12-yard score with 6:16 to play in the opening stanza. The quarterback teamed up with fellow Dandy Dozen Octavious Cooley on four passing plays on the drive 36 yards.
Wayne County (6-1, 8-3) responded with a 72-yard scoring drive, but the drive stalled at the Tornado 6-yard line and ended with a 28-yard Brett Reynolds field goal. Freddy Jordan Jr. jump started the drive with a 19-yard run on a third-and-16 from the WCHS 16 yard line. Wayne County quarterback Reggie Stewart then hit Ramiek Wallace on a 48-yard pass play that moved the ball to the Laurel 6-yard line.
The War Eagles scored on their next offensive possession as they moved from their own 46 yard line to Laurel’s six, but the drive stalled again and Reynolds was called in to kick a 24-yard field goal with 11:12 to play in the half.
Laurel responded with a 75-yard drive in nine plays, but the drive bogged down and Jonathan Atencio kicked a 27-yard field goal to give the home team a 10-6 lead at the end of the second quarter.
Wayne County scored first to open the second half as Xavier Lampley intercepted a Tornado pass at the War Eagles’ 45 yard line. Wayne County then drove to the Tornadoes’ 24-yard line thanks in large part to a Jordan lateral to Stewart that resulted in a 20-yard gain. Stewart hit Wallace on a 24-yard pass play for a score giving Wayne a 13-10 lead at the 6:28 mark.
Laurel came back with a 78-yard scoring drive in 11 plays with Howard scoring his second TD of the night on a three-yard run giving LHS a 17-13 lead with 1:45 to play in the third period. Senior running back Dante Robinson had five carries for 53 yards on the drive.
Laurel scored a safety at the 6:46 mark when the War Eagles were attempting to punt the ball and the football went through the back of the end zone.
The Golden Tornadoes earned the No. 1 seed entering the first round of the Class 5A playoffs and will host Hattiesburg next Friday, whom it lost to early in the season.