NORTH AUGUSTA — Five years ago, North Augusta was ousted from the playoffs quickly, and with little effort by Laurens. The tables were turned Friday night – and in similar fashion.
The Yellow Jackets rolled past the Raiders 42-11 in the first round of the Class AAAA Division II playoffs.
Laurens routed North Augusta 30-0 in the first round of the 2008 playoffs en route to a semifinals appearance.
Five years later, a region-champion Yellow Jackets team with just one close loss on the season cruised in the first round against the Raiders.
“It’s the playoffs, so it’s time to pick up the pace,” said Yellow Jackets running back Willie McCloud, who had three touchdowns on the ground. “The teams are getting faster, and we have to keep up the pace. We have some good pieces on this team.”
North Augusta (11-1, 4-1 Region 5-AAAA) will play host to Beaufort in the second round Friday.
North Augusta benefited from the connection between Trib Reece and Keyon West throughout the game. The two hooked up nine times as West totaled 147 receiving yards and two touchdowns.
Reece recorded 204 passing yards and two touchdowns for a Yellow Jackets offense that had 381 total yards.
McCloud collected 149 yards to go with his three touchdowns on the ground.
“(McCloud) did a good job staying inside the blocks,” coach Dan Pippin said. “He was good tonight. He did what he was supposed to do.”
North Augusta scored twice in the first quarter on touchdown runs by McCloud and Ronald Williams, while Laurens managed a field goal midway through the quarter.
The Yellow Jackets built a comfortable lead in the second with three scores, two between Reece and West. McCloud also scored his second touchdown, giving them a 32-point lead at halftime.
Laurens (6-6, 5-2 Region 1-AAAA) used a two-quarterback offense between Toby Jackson and Quin Suber and, along with Hammer Walker, the three totaled 235 passing yards. But North Augusta held the Raiders to just 88 rushing yards and intercepted the ball five times.
“The defense played well,” Pippin said. “Suber is a good player for them, but we contained them for the most part. We caught some breaks.”