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Lanett dominates Ranburne, sets up regional championship matchup next week

One word describes the No. 6 Lanett Panthers on Thursday: dominant.

The Panthers dominated all three phases of the game, especially on offense, in their 48-0 win against Ranburne.

“It’s great because it’s time for it to start getting put together, especially this late in the season,” head coach Clifford Story said of his offense. ‘I’ve been preaching it week in and week out for us to start trying to get all three phases to execute to the best of our ability. They did that tonight. I preached all week that it was going to be a tough game. It could be a trap game, so don’t take their record for granted.”

The Panthers deferred on the opening kickoff but got the ball on the first offensive play of the game, as senior defensive back Larontavious “Tae-Tae” Hurston cut off a Ranburne receiver and intercepted the pass. 

Less than 45 seconds later, quarterback Kadarius Zackery scrambled to his right, slipped past a would-be tackler and sped into the end zone.

The Panthers defense forced a three-and-out on the ensuing drive, which was a theme for the entire game. Zackery caught the punt on his own 30-yard line and outran every player to the end zone, giving the Panthers a 14-point lead less than three minutes into the game.

The Panthers continued to pad to their highlights in the first half, as running back D’Quez Madden had a monster first half.

“D’Quez is an awesome football player,” Story said of the junior. “He’s a strong kid that works extremely hard. We’re just going to feed him going ahead. I’ve been telling my offensive coordinator the past three weeks that we need to feed D’Quez until he taps out, he’s that kind of back. You see the speed. We moved some things around on the offensive line to try to get the best guy possible to be able to lead him through. Tonight he ran the ball hard and he ran it well.”

On the Panthers’ fifth offensive play of the game, Madden charged up the middle, spun out a pair of Bulldog defenders and sprinted into the end zone.

The Panthers found the end zone for the fourth time with less than a minute left in the opening quarter when Zackery hit Madden across the middle of the field. Madden did the rest of the work, sprinting about 20 yards to the left side of the field for a touchdown.

On their next drive, the Panthers got to the end zone three different times, two of which were called back on penalties. Madden scored the third touchdown when he charged up the middle and sprinted down the far sideline for a 36-yard score.

Lanett scored its final first-half touchdown when KK Atkinson hit Markel Patrick on a post pass. Patrick snuck behind the Bulldog defender and basically walked into the end zone for a 40-yard score.

Defensively, the Panthers controlled the game. The Black Bandits, as they call themselves, were constantly in the Bulldogs backfield and harassing Bulldog quarterback Jaxon Langley.

“They work hard,” Story said of the pressure his defensive front caused. “I have good coaches who push them every day week in and week out. They don’t le them take plays off. They stay on them. Tonight it showed. We played well. We got off blocks. We’re going to need that same intensity next week.”

On one Ranburne possession, the Panthers sacked Langley, hit him in the backfield forcing a fumble that rolled out of bounds and forced an incomplete pass.

The Panthers scored the games’ final touchdown midway through the fourth quarter. Dai’shun Walker caught a screen pass and sprinted ahead for a long score.

Lanett will travel to Randolph County next Friday. Randolph County is the No. 1 team in 2A. The winner of the game will win 2A Region 4.