Lanett stops Handley in final minute for 20-15 win

Published 12:05 am Saturday, September 28, 2019

ROANOKE — The 1A No. 5-ranked Lanett Panthers’ (6-0, 3-0) defense stepped up on a Tigers’ fourth and one with 45 seconds remaining to secure a 20-15 victory over 4A Handley (3-2, 2-0) on Friday night.

“They played outstanding,” Lanett assistant football coach E.J. Webb said of the defense. “They played hard the whole game, they gave up a couple of big runs, but [Handley] didn’t just come out and beat us up front. Coach Charlie [Williams], Coach [Paul] Pankey, Coach [Mark] Miller, Coach [Trentavious] McCants…they’ve all done a fantastic job with that defense. I tip my hat off to them and I’ll tell anybody, I’ll take this defense against anybody in the state of Alabama.”

Kickoff in the matchup was delayed due to lightning in the area, but once the game started, the home team struck first, taking an 8-0 lead into the start of the second quarter. Lanett scored its first touchdown of the night with 7:15 remaining in the second quarter to cut the deficit down to 8-7, which was the score heading into halftime.

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The Panthers came out in the second half to take their first lead of the game at 14-8 with 6:40 to go in the third quarter. Handley responded with another touchdown with 2:20 to go in the third quarter to take a 15-14 lead into the final period.

Lanett then pulled ahead with 4:35 remaining, proving to be the go-ahead score of the night.

The Panthers three touchdowns came from a 75-yard run from senior B.J. Smith, a 15-yard touchdown reception from junior Trey Abner and a 10-yard catch on a slant from junior Seidron Langston.

Defensively, junior Kadarious Zachery and senior Quae Houston both grabbed interceptions. Senior Demetrius Johnson, junior Larontavious Hurston and sophomore Caden Story also had standout nights on that side of the ball, according to Webb.

Handley is the last team on the Panthers’ regular-season schedule to have at least received votes to be ranked in week five’s prep poll. In 2018, Lanett beat its final three opponents Loachapoka, Verbena and Billingsley by a combined 151 points. However, Webb said that the team must stay focused to close out the regular season.

“Work on Lanett. Get better every day,” he said. “We’re not taking anyone for granted. I don’t care if we’re playing the school of the 10-year-olds, take care of Lanett. We can’t leave any stone unturned. We have to take care of Lanett. That’s our motto heading into the second half of the season, a lot of kids are going to get to play in a lot of games, but we have to take care of Lanett. We have to do what we have to do.”

The Panthers will enjoy a week off next Friday before returning to the gridiron to travel to Loachapoka on Oct. 11.