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Lanett tops LaFayette in rivalry game

OPELIKA — There was a change in venue for this year’s continuation of a longstanding rivalry between the Lanett Panthers and the LaFayette Bulldogs. For the first time ever, the game was played outside of Chambers County.

It was scheduled to be played at Morgan-Washburn Stadium in Lanett but with a playing surface soaked with lots of rain that had fallen during the week and more rain in the forecast for Friday night, LHS head coach and athletic director Clifford Story looked for other options and found one in Opelika.

With the OHS Bulldogs on the road Friday night in Phenix City, the stadium was available.

Arrangements were worked out for the two teams to meet on a field with an artificial surface. It’s a good thing they did.

The natural grass field at Lanett High would have been badly torn up had a football game been played there Friday night, given the good soaking of rain that took place over the east Alabama-west Georgia region.

The altered location probably didn’t have much effect on the outcome.

Lanett continued its recent dominance in the series, blasting the Bulld0gs by a score of 44-6.

Each team had a great high school running back. Lanett’s superior line play was the big factor in D’Quez Madden having a much better game than LaFayette’s B.J. Baker. Baker did score LaFayette’s only TD on a 13-yard run late in the first half and made a dazzling run on a short pass near the sideline.

On the play, he jumped over a Lanett defender to gain big yardage near the sideline.

But this was a night for Madden football. The gifted Lanett senior scored three touchdowns and three two-point conversions.

After stopping LaFayette on a fourth-and-two play near midfield, the Panthers took over on the Bulldog 45 and drove it in for the first score of the game. Madden scored on a three-yard run burg 4:48 left in the first quarter. Madden then ran in the two-point play off the right side to make it 8-0.

The rain was coming down hard and fast when the Bulldogs got the ball for their next possession. Under those miserable conditions, they hurt themselves with false start and illegal procedure penalties.

They had to punt it away on fourth and long. Lanett took over on their 35 and went ahead by two scores on a 46-yard TD run by Madden. It was a beautiful run. Madden broke off left guard and raced out to the sideline and outran everyone to the end zone. Junior quarterback Jarrious faked it to Madden on the two-point play and kept around left end, making it across the goal. That made the score 16-0 with 8:21 left in the half.

A few minutes later, Chandler Winston made a big play for LaFayette, intercepting a pass deep in Lanett territory at the 17. On second and six from the 13, Baker found running room off the left side of the line taking it into the end zone for a score. The two point try failed, leaving the score 16-6 with 2:37 left in the half.

The Panthers responded by driving the ball the length of the field just before halftime.

A pass from Goodman to Caden Story got the ball down to the LaFayette 13 with two seconds to go. They almost scored a touchdown off a deflected pass on the final play of the half. Goodman’s pass was almost intercepted in the end zone, but the ball bounced off the LaFayette player’s hands toward a Lanett receiver who almost got it for a score.

The first half ended with Lanett in the lead 16-6.

Lanett took care of business in the second half and made what was a close game into a rout in the third quarter. They scored on a 52-yard drive to open the third quarter. Madden capped off the drive with a three-yard TD run and then ran it in on the two-point play to make it 24-6 with 9:43 left in the quarter.

On LaFayette’s first series of the second half, B.J. Baker made a terrific play near the sideline, taking a short pass and leaping over a Lanett defender on his way to a first down at midfield.

Things looked good for LaFayette at that point, but it turned into disaster on the very next play. A pass toward the right sideline was intercepted by Tieko Williams at the Lanett 40 and returned 60 yards for a touchdown.

Goodman kept the ball around left end t0 add on two more points, making the score 32-6 with 5:19 left in the quarter.

The game was completely out of reach at that point, but Lanett would add on two more touchdowns to make the final 44-6. They got one of those scores on a breakdown in the LaFayette kicking game. On a fourth down play, the Bulldogs were trying to punt out of their end zone. The punter had a tough time with a low snap and tried to run it out of the end zone. He would have been better off just to have taken a safety. Lanett took over on the two and scored on a run by Isaiah Green.

The win improves Lanett’s record to 4-1 on the season, 3-0 in 2A Region 3.

They have a tough assignment next week going on the road to take on defending 4A state champion Handley.

LaFayette fell to 2-2. They will be at Dadeville next week.

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