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Rebels to face #1 seed Laurens in second round

By Brandon Carter | Byrnes Contributor

As they look to continue their chase for the 12th State Title in school history, the #2 seeded Byrnes Rebels (10-1, 6-1) travel to Laurens county to face the #1 seeded Laurens Raiders (9-1, 7-0). 

In the first round of the playoffs, Byrnes escaped a surprise shootout against Nation Ford, winning 48-34. 

For Laurens, they kept it very close against the at-large team in the playoffs, the Blythewood Bengals, but the Raiders managed to pull the win out late, winning 43-40. 

Considering Laurens’s struggles in the first round, you’d think the Rebels would be a big favorite, given last week’s matchup against Nation Ford, anything is possible in the playoffs. Nation Ford managed to keep it close, when many expected a blowout in Byrnes’s favor. Every team in the playoffs earned their spot, and won’t go down without a fight.  

Laurens runs the Wing-T triple option offense, the same offense TL Hanna used when they beat Byrnes in the Upper State Championship a year ago. So Byrnes has to a better job being prepared for the run-heavy, triple option offense if they want to advance in the playoffs.

The Rebels certainly have the defense to be able to stop the Wing-T however, as they boast a defense that allows only 66.7 rushing yards per game.

The Rebels are lead on defense by senior standouts, defensive end Josh Byrd and linebacker Briyon Wright. On the season, Byrd has the team lead in tackles for loss (26) and sacks (13). Wright leads the team in total tackles (53) and also has 14.5 tackles for loss of his own, as well as 6.5 sacks. The Rebels will need those two to step up if they want to shut down that Wing-T offense Laurens uses. 

“They are really big and run the ball well out of the double wing triple option” Byrnes Head Coach Reggie Shaw said. “We have to attack them and be sound by playing assignment defense. We have to be disciplined on defense”

Off note, Laurens’s one loss on the season came to Hillcrest in out of region play, losing 23-6. The Rebels handled Hillcrest in their region matchup against the Rams, as they defeated them 46-23. 

Byrnes and Laurens have matched up 18 times all-time, and Byrnes leads the series 11-7. They last faced each other during the 2005 playoffs, in which the Rebels won 45-20 and advanced in the playoffs. The Rebels eventually went on to win their 7th state title that year, and finished the season perfect, at 15-0. 

Round two of the playoffs for the Rebels is set to kick off at 7:30 on Friday, November 15th at K.C. Hanna Stadium in Laurens, South Carolina. 

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