Laurel head coach Ryan Earnest on the sidelines of a game earlier in the season.

Laurel quite possibly could have made the trip to George County without its punter Friday night.

Of its 11 offensive possessions vs. George County, Laurel's punted just once. The solo punt didn't come till the fourth quarter.

In another showcase of its offense and senior running back Kiron Benjamin, No. 3 seed Laurel dominated No. 2 seed George County, 59-20, in Friday night’s first-round playoff contest.

George County's first play from scrimmage resulted in a 79-yard touchdown and a 7-0 lead. Laurel answered with 28 unanswered points en route to a second straight blowout victory.

“Hats off to our kids for being resilient,” said Laurel head coach Ryan Earnest. “This is a tough place to play. It always has been. I’m proud of our guys for coming out and competing at a high level. And it gives us another chance to play another football game.”

Benjamin, who scored five touchdowns against Hattiesburg last Saturday night, added five more to his total on the season against the Rebels.

"I keep saying, at this point, is anyone surprised," said Earnest. "He's playing great right now. He deserves it. He works his tail off. He's been that guy who does things the right way. He's got a great offensive line in front of him and great receivers blocking on the perimeter for him."

Laurel won the turnover battle against George County Friday night, turning Rebel mishaps into points.

"We played well last week, and we played well tonight," said Earnest. 'We didn't turn the ball over once, and that's been our story - when we don't turn the ball over and take care of the football, we're a very good football team. When we don't, it doesn't work out well for us."

Earnest added that his team is peaking at the right moment.

"That's what it's going to take," said Earnest. "Class 5A football is the best in the state, in my opinion. At this point in the season, you must put four full quarters together. We've done it the last week weeks, and we get a chance to see if we can do it again next week."

What's Next:

Laurel travels to Soso next week for a rematch against No. 1 seed West Jones in the second round of the playoffs.


Tyrone Jones and Braydon Jordan also scored touchdowns for the Tornadoes.

Laurel’s defense forced George County to punt on five separate occasions Friday night.