Trojans cruise past Raiders in opening round of 5A playoffs

Nov 03 Written by 

For one quarter of football, the Laurens Raiders hung tough with the Northwestern Trojans. It was the next two quarters that decided the game in the Trojans 58-7 win over the Raiders in the opening round of the 5A playoffs on Thursday night in Rock Hill.

Back-to-back drives, one late in the first quarter and one early in the second quarter, turned the tide for the Raiders. Laurens was down 10-0 but was able to move the ball on offense.

On the first drive, Laurens went for it on fourth down and came up inches short at midfield. The Raiders held the Trojans on their next drive, after a Wesley Carlay sack on third down.

Laurens moved the ball again and was faced with a fourth down inside of Northwestern territory. This time, the Raiders came up one yard short and the flood gates opened.

Jordan Starkes scored on a 5-yard run to make it 17-0. The Trojans forced a three-and-out for the Raiders and a Cade Thompson punt. As the Raider defenders waited on the punt to settle so they could down it, Starkes scooped it up and ran 42 yards untouched for a touchdown. In the span of 1 minute and 3 seconds, the Trojans scored twice and now led 24-0.

Starkes accounted for four touchdowns for the Trojans, all in the first half. The five-yard run and 42-yard punt return were joined by a 10-yard and 28-yard touchdown pass from Dustin Noller.  

Noller, a sophomore, threw for two more touchdowns in the second half. Junior receiver Jamario Holley was on the receiving end of both passes, one for 34 yards and one for 4 yards.

The Raiders got on the scoreboard late in the fourth quarter. Chris Jackson scored on a 1-yard run and Devon Hubner added the PAT to put the score at 52-7.

Laurens got the ball back with under a minute to play. With time running out, the Raiders fumbled and JT Lewis returned it 25 yards for a touchdown as time expired.

Northwestern outgained the Raiders 464 yards to 198 yards on offense. The Trojans had 18 first downs to the Raiders nine. The Raiders were 2 of 15 on third down.

Noller was 23 for 32 for 281 yards and four touchdowns. Starkes caught seven passes for 108 yards and two touchdowns. Holley caught seven passes for 144 yards and two touchdowns. Sophomore Marquez Cherry rushed for 86 yards on five carries and a touchdown.

Laurens quarterback Ryan Campbell was 9 for 19 for 73 yards. Jackson rushed for 47 yards on eight carries and a touchdown.  

Laurens finishes the season with an overall record of 3-8. Northwestern improves to 7-4 and advances to play next week in the second round of the 5A playoffs. 

Stats: Laurens vs. Northwestern

Last modified on Friday, 03 November 2017 01:07