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Laurence Manning High School

Swampcats Preparing for Home Season Opener Against Defending Champion Florence Christian

By Billy G. Baker


Manning—With 9 position starters back from the 2018 season Austin Floyd, the new head football coach at Laurence Manning, says he has really enjoyed coaching the team and that he is looking forward to a successful season and long stay in the community.

“Everyone knows that right now Hammond is by far the best team in our league, but we will compete against anyone and give it our best shot,” said Coach Floyd. “I truly feel like we can compete against and give any other team in SCISA AAA a competitive hard -fought game.

“In terms of goals and expectations I just want to start the season down at Augusta Christian, play hard, and find a way to win the game,” said Coach Floyd. “Another strong goal of mine is that the team stay healthy and avoid injuries.”

Fact is some team will line up against Hammond in the SDCISA finals come mid-November. Coach Floyd, former offensive coordinator at Lamar hopes that team is LMA.

The Swampcats played the defending SCISA Class A champions Thomas Heyward in a Jamboree type event recently. They will open the season against the defending SCISA AA champions Florence Christian Eagles on August 31st. “I guess it is a good thing to scrimmage the defending Class A champion and they have some good athletes and then turn around an open up the season at home against another SCISA champion,” said Coach Floyd. “I thought our team competed well against a very athletic team from Thomas Heyward.”

The team is fortunate to have a lot of senior leadership with three- year performer Burgress Jordan back at quarterback along with veteran wing back Wyatt Roland, one of the fastest players on the team. “Burgress can make plays with his arm or his feet,” said Coach Floyd. “He’s starting his third season on the varsity and he is one of our team leaders.

“Wyatt has a lot of speed and he will start at wing back on offense and defensive back on defense and we are counting on him making some big plays for us this season,” said Coach Floyd. Nolan Osteen is starting at wing back and he has a promising future in the program.

Some other senior starters on the team include a trimmed down Shane Stephens (5-10, 250) who will start at right guard and see duty a lot at nose tackle on defense. Kyle Horton is a senior receiver described as having good blocking skills and soft hands receiving passes. Senior Van Gardner (6-1, 250) will start at right tackle. Senior Austin Duke was moved from guard to center while senior C.J. Griffith was out with an injury.

Senior Gabe Harris returns at receiver after starting last year. Junior henry Black (5-11, 200) is starting at left tackle while Britton Morris is a junior starting right guard.

“CJ was recently been cleared to play and we are going to let both of the spilt time at center for a game or two to see if one of them can move ahead of the other,” said Coach Floyd. “They both are good offensive linemen.”

Senior Jackson Lee is amongst the best place kickers/punter in South Carolina. “This summer at the Wingate University camp Jackson made a 52 -yard field goal and I would feel comfortable letting him kick from around the 35 or 40- yard line,” said Coach Floyd. “He also punts well. The other day in practice he was booming them 50 yards with good hang time.”

On defense Gardner flips to the defensive line along with Duke. Senior Davis Clemmons (5-9, 180) is a starting outside linebacker along with Britton Morris who is a two-way starter at right guard and linebacker. Coach Floyd calls junior linebacker Bennett Stephens (5-11, 90) one of the best- looking athletes on the entire team.

“Bennett has been all over the field in our scrimmages playing with a high motor,” said Coach Floyd. “He is in great shape. He’s hard to block and he is super quick with good lateral movement.”

In the secondary up and coming sophomore baseball stand-out Mikey Jordan (5-10, 155) is starting at one corner back and Rowland flips from offense to also start at the other corner. Speedy junior Gabe Harris is at free safety. The other safety is Trey Sharpe (5-9,170).

A few other players who have worked hard for playing time include sophomore Dalton Brown in the defensive line, sophomore Dalton Huggins at free safety, and Johnathan Griffith at defensive end and he is described as fast “as grease lightning” by his coach.

 Coach Floyd is assisted by defensive coordinator Will Furse, Patrick Anderson coaches up the quarterbacks and defensive backs. Tylar Lee tutors running backs and linebackers while Ryan Lee assists Coach Floyd in working with both lines.

Ryan Anderson and Ken Beatson are special assistants along with Bryan Molino. These men handle equipment needs on game day and they help setting up the field etc. The Head of School is Fred Boykin and the athletic director is Les Jordan.



© 2017 High School Sports Report

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