Eagles scorch Laurens in season opener

LAURENS – The Richard Winn Academy Eagles traveled to Laurens on Friday, August 25, to open the 2023 football season against the Laurens Academy Crusaders. The 8-man contest was postponed to 8:00pm due to high temperatures. The Eagles lost a host of seniors after last season, but return some playmakers at key positions. Neither the team’s youth nor the heat deterred the Eagles from scorching the Crusaders on Friday night.

Drew Spires (2) breaks a tackle for extra yards. | Laura Bonds

Laurens Academy scored first on a 10-play, 57-yard drive after sophomore Jared Willard ran into the end zone from the five yard line. The Crusaders failed to convert the 2-point conversion but took an early lead, 6-0.

The Eagles responded with a 7-play, 55-yard drive resulting in a score, as Eagle quarterback Charlie Bonds completed a one-yard touchdown pass to Drew Spires. The Eagles converted the 2-point conversion to go up 8-6 with 4:56 remaining in the first quarter of play. The Eagles would score just two minutes later as Bonds connected with Spires again, this time completing a

65-yard pass that Spires carried to the end zone. After the 2-point conversion, the Eagles led by 10.

Eagles Head Coach Paul Brigman acknowledged the team’s youth, saying, “We had a bunch of underclassmen who were getting their first start, but they responded well.”

In the second quarter, the Eagles dominated the Crusaders, reaching the end zone four times. Bonds scored twice on the ground, and found Spires through the air with a 35-yard touchdown. Spires also crossed the goal line on a 65-yard interception return.

Richard Winn scored twice in the second half. Eli Smith ran the ball seven yards for a score, and Tony Armstrong returned a kickoff 50 yards for a touchdown.

The Eagle defense, led by JT Wilkes and Josh Tyndall, stifled Laurens all night. Wilkes recorded 11 tackles and Tyndall contributed 9.5. The defense held Laurens to just two scores, the second coming late in the second half after recovering a fumble in the end zone.

Bonds led the Eagle attack in the air and on the ground, completing 11 of 13 passes for 246 yards and three touchdowns, and rushing for 50 yards on five carries and two more scores. Smith carried the ball 4 times, gaining 49 yards and a touchdown. In the air, Spires received 8 passes for 181 yards and 3 touchdowns. The Eagles amassed 378 yards of total offense and won the contest 54-14 to start the season 1-0.

Brigman was pleased with the outcome.

“I thought we played well for our first game,” he said. “We will need to continue to improve weekly if we want to reach our goals for the season.”

The Eagles will host the Wardlaw Academy Patriots on Friday, Sept. 1, at Ruff Field in Winnsboro. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30pm.

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