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Rashad Milligan | Times-News Creating distance: Lanett athlete Jamarian Whatley extends a stiff arm out to Valley defender LaMorris Carr during Thursday evening’s 11 and 12-year-old recreation football match up.

Lanett defeats Valley 14-0 in recreation football

LANETT — The Lanett Panthers defeated the Valley Rams 14-0 in an 11 and 12-year-old recreation football game on Thursday evening.

“The kids played well,” Lanett head football coach Ritae Zigler said. “They still need some coaching. They’re young, but hey, that’s what we’re here for, to coach them up.”

With 2:30 remaining in the first half, Lanett 12 year old Quentin Brown ran for a touchdown to give the Panthers a 6-0 lead before halftime. 

At the beginning of the second half, Lanett’s defense rushed into the Valley backfield and forced a sack/fumble on the Rams to recover the ball.

“Lanett has some good-looking kids across their fronts on both sides of the ball,” Valley head football coach Shane Andrews said. “Especially with the two guys that they line up in the middle of the defens[ive line]. It’s hard to ask a 12-year-old kid that is not anywhere near his size to run up and try to block him, but we deal with what we have. We’ll get back to work on Saturday morning with a 9 a.m. practice and will see if we can get a little bit better.”

With 10:41 remaining in the second half, Lanett 12-year-old JB Pruitt fumbled a snap before recovering and getting to the right sideline to run for another Panthers touchdown. Brown caught the 2-point conversion to increase the Lanett lead to 14-0.

“Containing guys, keeping them from getting around the outside is huge in this,” Andrews said. “We seem to be having a hard time  in doing that  right now. We gave up two touchdowns, and they were both two long runs. That’s what happens  when you can’t contain guys, but we’ll keep working and practicing. We have another game on Monday night and we’ll get right back at it.”

The game ended with a Valley intercepted-pass that landed in the hands of Lanett 11-year-old Riontie Zigler. Riontie’s father said that his son grew up watching the high school players compete, which has helped him with his football IQ.

Although Thursday’s game was played by students who won’t be in high school for another two to four years, segments of a rivalry were still present in the match up.

“[Lanett] came out after  beating LaFayette on Tuesday knowing that we were going to  play Valley,” Coach Zigler said. “Some of them are friends with some of their players so they were talking back-and-forth through social media, as young as they are, but at the end of the day, they lived up to the talk. We won the game.”