Despite a slew of penalties and a few typical first-game mistakes, Laney dominated on both sides of the ball in a 39-0 season-opening rout of crosstown foe Butler on Friday night.
In a first-half marred by incessant penalties and officials’ huddles, Laney found room to roll up 282 yards and all of its points at Lumpkin Road Stadium.
Freshman back Javin Myers rushed for 100 yards and three touchdowns in the first half and Horatio Keller hooked up on two long scoring passes to Andre James before intermission arrived 96 minutes after kickoff.
The Wildcats added a safety and a Jadarius Wright 26-yard field goal in the final two minutes of the half to run the score to 39-0.
“We felt good about some things that we could do early in the ball game and we were able to execute some of the things, not all of the things,” Laney head coach Lemuel Lackey said. “We feel good about where we are right now.”
The officials called 24 penalties in the first half, and on three occasions entered into extended deliberations before announcing offsetting penalties. The teams combined for 170 yards in penalties on the night.
“Game 1, you saw the mistakes right off the bat – 45 and 50 yards in penalties – right off the bat,” Butler coach Myron Newton told his team that kept making dead-ball penalties on offense and defense. “They didn’t earn the field position, we gave it to them. So when I tell you we’ve got work to do, we’ve got work to do. … The game isn’t as bad as the score looks. You’re going to see how much field position you gave up in the beginning of the game.”
Butler had minus-1 yards and one first down in the first half.
Keller rushed for 71 yards in the half and threw for another 99, including touchdowns of 37 and 25 yards to James.
James, a sophomore, had a 49-yard interception return touchdown nullified by a penalty right before halftime and the Wildcats had to settle for Kadarius Wright’s field goal. In the second half, James played quarterback and rushed for 31 yards.
“It felt great to be able to come out here and execute our plays – I wouldn’t say perfectly,” said offensive lineman James Holmon. “And defensively we gave them a goose egg.”
Butler mounted its only drive in the final minutes with a running clock, making two first downs to reach the Laney 26. But two Sandrez Evans passes into the end zone fell incomplete.
The Wildcats outgained the Bulldogs 310-30.