The Wildcats trailed 17-0 and had picked up first downs on just two of their six offensive series. With 15:11 remaining, a comeback seemed unlikely.
Instead Laney gained 116 yards in the final 15 minutes, scored two offensive touchdowns and was one overthrown pass away from stealing the season opener.
Each of the Wildcats' two TD drives was aided by a big play. First, a flare pass to receiver James Bing , who zipped across the field and sped down one sideline for a 40-yard gain. Then, a 41-yard run by Eugene Moore down to the Warriors' 2-yard line. Prior to those possessions, the Wildcats had run only two plays that gained more than seven yards.
Jefferson County coach J.B. Arnold cited youth as the reason his defense allowed the Wildcats to rally.
"Give (Laney) coach (Lemuel ) Lackey credit," he said. "They made adjustments, and our young defense paid the price. Boy, we made some stupid mistakes."
The Warriors started two seniors on offense and four on defense.
CONSERVATIVE KNIGHTS: Evans attempted eight passes and ran the ball 38 times in its 7-0 win at Greenbrier.
The Knights were starting a new quarterback, Troy Griffith , for the first time since 2005. Griffith completed five passes for 38 yards. Most important, coach Marty Jackson said, no one on his team turned the ball over.
"Offensively, we weren't on all cylinders," he said. "But we didn't turn the ball over. That was the difference."
Jonathan Finch , who ran for 229 yards, had this advice for his quarterback: "I just told him to relax, the line and the backs will block. You just have to be patient."
Evans plays host to Lakeside next week in one of the area's top games.
REBELS WON'T RUN: Plenty went right for Hephzibah in its 38-0 win over Butler. But the Rebels easily could have scored more than 50 points had three drives not ended inside the red zone. The Rebels were also penalized 15 times for 130 yards.
"First-game jitters are out of the way, and we look to get rid of a lot of those penalties," coach John Bowen said.
Bowen said he would determine appropriate punishments for the penalties after reviewing the film. Asked if the players would be doing extra running, Bowen laughed.
"You can't punish kids with running. That's your policy," he said.
"We positively reinforce."
JOHNSON WATCHES: One of the top defensive prospects in the area didn't make the starting lineup Friday. North Augusta senior Brett Johnson , a Dream 16 selection, warmed up, served as the team captain for the coin flip but rarely came off the sidelines in the Yellow Jackets' 41-7 home win over Midland Valley.
"I was kind of worried about not starting all week because it's my senior year, and it's the Midland Valley game," Johnson said. "But coach told me I wasn't going to start, so I wasn't surprised. I played about as much as I thought I would."
Johnson injured his foot three weeks ago in a scrimmage against Goose Creek. He made it into the game in the second quarter, but he wasn't at full strength.
Staff writers Chris Gay, Billy Byler and Stephen Fastenau contributed to this report.
Reach Matt Middleton at (706) 823-3425 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
RUSHING: Jonathan Finch, Evans, 18 carries for 229 yards
PASSING: Marquan Medlock, Richmond Academy, 9-for-21 for 201 yards
RECEIVING: Ben Turner, Greenbrier, six receptions for 136 yards