By Brandon Carter | Byrnes Contributor
The No. 2 seeded Byrnes Rebels took care of business on the road in the second round of the playoffs, defeating top-seeded seeded Laurens 41-12 on Friday.
This game was played in horrid conditions, as rain poured throughout the entire game, to go along with awful winds and cold conditions to begin with.
Because of the conditions, you would think it would favor Laurens, with their run heavy, Wing-T offense, but it was in fact the Rebels who dominated on the ground.
The Rebels totaled 394 rushing yards on the night, with the Rebels senior running back Rahjai Harris totaling 281 yards on 23 carries, to go along with five touchdowns, as he continues to add to his resume for the South Carolina Mr. Football Award.
“My offensive-line creating holes and good coaching allowed me to have big game” Harris said. “The coaches relied on us to figure out the pre-snap reads and we were able to do that”
Harris opened the game with a 65-yard rushing touchdown on the first play from scrimmage, giving the Rebels the early 7-0 advantage.
The Rebels then doubled their lead when junior quarterback Brayden Blackmon punched it in from the 1-yard line for a touchdown.
Byrnes would continue to run away with it for the remainder of the first half, as they went into the locker rooms at half time with a 34-0 advantage.
The Rebels would add another rushing score from Harris in the second half, but then Laurens got their two scores of their own in the fourth quarter, to make the final score 41-12.
“I challenged the guys before the game about whether they could handle the elements and adverse conditions” Byrnes Head Coach Reggie Shaw said. “I told them that everyone’s perception is that Byrnes can’t win in the cold rain and it was up to them to prove otherwise. They responded well in all three phases of the game. They came out focused and ready to play”
The Rebels managed to hold Laurens to 193 yards rushing, on 4.6 yards per carry, which is pretty impressive considering Laurens heavy running attack, especially in the rainy conditions.
Senior linebacker Briyon Wright led the way for the “Strike Force” defense, leading the team with seven tackles and two tackles for loss.
With the win, the Rebels improve to 11-1 on the season, and advance to the 3rd round of the playoffs to face the No. 3 seeded Gaffney Indians at Nixon Field.
Gaffney dismanted a previously undefeated Sumter team, winning 33-7 to advance to the 3rd round of the playoffs.
The Rebels outgunned Gaffney in their regular season matchup earlier in the year, as the Rebels won 57-30. However, this is a different Gaffney team that the one the Rebels faced in October, as they have gotten some key players healthy and are one of the hottest teams in the entire state.
This rematch should be a very interesting and intense between two big rivals and two of the most successful programs in South Carolina High School Football History. However, Byrnes has had Gaffney’s number the past two seasons, as the Rebels have defeated the Indians in all three of their matchups during that time period.
For Laurens, they suffer their second defeat of the season, falling to 9-2 and are sent home after a great season that saw them secure the Region 1-5A title.
Round three playoff action for the Rebels will kick off at 7:30 on Friday, November 22nd at Nixon Field in the rematch between the #2 seeded Byrnes Rebels and the #3 Gaffney Indians.
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