FOOTBALL: Landrum falls in the first round of playoffs

Published 11:30 am Monday, November 6, 2023

On Friday night, the Landrum Cardinals (5-6, 1-4) saw their season come to an abrupt end after a 49-7 defeat in the South Carolina High School League playoffs against one of the most dominant teams in 2A, the Strom Thurmond Rebels (9-2, 5-0).

The Rebels, led by University of Tennessee commit wide receiver Braylon Staley, who had three catches for 100 yards, dominated the game from the start, with six other players scoring touchdowns in the first half. The Rebels jumped on top of the Cardinals early with a 28-0 lead at the end of the 1st quarter and secured the win in the first half with a 49-0 halftime margin.

Despite the tough Rebel defense, senior running back Colton Link produced over 200 yards of total offense, combining runs, catches and returns while handling the punting duties. Link cemented his place near the top of the Cardinal record books as one of the all-time leading rushers and total yardage leaders. He came into the game averaging over 160 yards and two touchdowns per game.

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Other standout players on the season for the Cardinals included senior quarterback Titus Poore, who made big plays with his arms and legs, and junior wide receiver AJ Medvar, who emerged as a top target. On defense, senior linebacker Marc Baker led the team averaging ten tackles a game and was joined by standout teammates senior Jayden Van Wettering, who led the team with six and a half sacks, and sophomore AJ Lindsey with a team-leading three interceptions.

Despite the loss, the Flock should be optimistic about the team’s future under first-year head coach Brent Bridges. The Cardinals’ season was highlighted by wins over their nearest rivals, Blue Ridge and Polk County, by a combined 66 points. The biggest reason for the losing record was their region’s strength, with Abbeville, Ninety-Six and Liberty all having excellent seasons on their way to the playoff, pushing the Cards to fourth. 

Under Coach Bridges’ leadership, the Cardinals appear headed in the right direction, and the future looks bright for the program.