After a drive stalled with six minutes to play, the Raiders, down 21-14, gambled on fourth and 12 and punted the ball back to Irmo at the Yellow Jackets 34-yard line. The Raiders defense held the Yellow Jackets and forced a punt.
A short kick gave Laurens the ball on the Irmo 14-yard line. Three plays later, Troy Dendy scored on a 6-yard run to tie the game at 21-21 with 2:26 to play.
Now the stage was set for someone to make a play. Irmo took over on their 30-yard line. The Yellow Jackets converted a fourth down near midfield to keep their drive alive. On the next play, quarterback John Ragin connected with a wide-open Raekwon Heath on a 48-yard pass down to the Raiders 1-yard line.
On third down and goal from the 2-yard line, Ragin rushed for his third touchdown of the night. After the PAT, Irmo led 28-21 with 48 seconds remaining in the game.
On the ensuing kickoff, a fair catch interference call gave the Raiders the ball at their 45-yard line. Two Ryan Campbell completions to Aaron McLeod and a completion to Deonte Smith gave the Raiders two last shots at the end zone with time winding down. Campbell’s first pass was incomplete in the endzone and his final desperation throw was picked off in the endzone as the horn sounded to end the game.
“We started seven sophomores tonight and I think that showed with some of the stuff that happened,” said Laurens head coach Chris Liner. “We lost and I’ve got to find a way to get them in a better position to make plays. I thought we played hard and I thought we did some good stuff.”
Irmo (4-0) racked up 248 yards rushing against the Raiders defense. Jason Legette ran for 99 yards on 20 carries and a touchdown. Ragin rushed for 55 yards and three touchdowns. He was also 9 for 19 passing for 142 yards. Heath caught four passes for 94 yards.
Ragin’s first touchdown was a 12-yard run to give Irmo a 7-0 lead in the first quarter. The Raiders answered in a big way in the second quarter. Campbell connected with Deonte Smith in the flat who then pitched to a streaking Troy Dendy for a 50-yard hook-and-ladder scoring play. The teams went to the locker room at halftime tied at 7-7.
Despite being pressured all night by a tenacious Irmo pass rush, Campbell was 20 for 37 for 213 yards and a touchdown.
Early in the third quarter, an Irmo fumble set the Raiders up at the Yellow Jackets 27-yard line. Four doses of Dendy ended with a 5-yard touchdown run to give Laurens a 14-7 lead with 7:22 to play in the third quarter.
Dendy was a workhorse for the Raiders against the vaunted Irmo defensive front. Dendy rushed for 77 yards on 28 carries and two touchdowns.
Ragin’s second score was after a Raider fumble set the Yellow Jackets up at the Laurens 30-yard line. Ragin scored on a 3-yard run with 1:43 to play in the third to tie the game at 14-14.
Irmo scored again on their next possession to go on top 21-14. Legette carried the load for Irmo on the drive and capped it off with a 2-yard scoring run with 9:30 to play.
Laurens falls to 1-2 on the season and will host Boiling Springs on Friday night at 7:30pm.