Laney football coach Lemuel Lackey raised his eyebrow.
It wasn’t out of surprise. It was because of how much his team’s defensive intensity Friday night mirrored its performance in summer practice.
The Wildcats held the Bulldogs to negative yards of offense in a 43-0 home win.
Laney, playing Butler for the first time since 2007, has shut out the Bulldogs in each of the past four meetings.
“It was stellar. Stellar,” Lackey said of his defense.
“I thought defensively, we were about as prepared as you can get for a team. We felt we had a handle on most of what they were trying to do.”
Laney (1-0) used its speed to bottle up Butler in the backfield. Jeremy Smith had two interceptions for the Wildcats.
Butler had only three first downs in the game. One was on a defensive penalty and another was after the Bulldogs recovered a fumble that traveled forward enough to pick up the first down.
Butler had two huge losses on running plays – the first on a fourth down play, the other on a 16-yard loss for a safety – to halt any progress.The Bulldogs’ leading rusher was Fernando Shelton, who had 24 yards.
Laney’s defensive dominance allowed the offense to take advantage of the short fields. It scored five touchdowns on drives of fewer than 50 yards.
The Wildcats used mostly their ground game to find success, with small but quick George Myers juking his way to 68 yards. DeMarcus Nunnally had 64 yards and Deondre Walker added 46.
“We got to pick ourselves back up and go back to work,” said Myron Newton, who coached his first game as the Bulldogs’ new head coach. “The effort wasn’t there. They had worked so hard, and that is what’s so disappointing.”
LANEY 43, BUTLER 0
PLAY OF THE GAME: As one example of Laney’s defensive greatness, the Wildcats nearly got a safety – it did get one later – in the third quarter when they tackled Butler’s Fernando Shelton almost immediately after he got the ball.
STARS OF THE GAME: Laney held Butler to -7 yards of offense.
WHY LANEY WON: The defense was just about perfect.
WHY BUTLER LOST: The Bulldogs couldn’t move the ball or stop the run.
NEXT: Butler at Westside, 7:30 p.m. Sept. 7; Westminster (Atlanta) at Laney, 7:30 p.m. Sept. 7.
Laney 43, Butler 0
Butler 0 0 0 0 – 0
Laney 7 14 7 15 – 43
L-Quinton Hall 2 run (Vicente Thompkins kick), 2:43
L-Thompkins 14 pass from Hall (Thompkins kick), 9:00
L-Hall 7 run (Thompkins kick), 2:30
L-Deondre Walker 11 run (Thompkins kick), 1:41
L-DeMarcus Nunnally 5 run (kick missed), 11:22
L-Butler tackled in end zone for safety, 7:24
L-Dwayne Coleman 6 pass from Andre James (Thompkins kick), 4:44
RUSHING–Butler: Fernando Shelton 10-24, Isaiah Lambert 10-2, Sandrez Evans 4-(-8), Devon Robinson 1-(-8), Johnathan Griffin 1-(-11), Brandon Boykin 1-(-16); Laney: George Myers 11-68, DeMarcus Nunnally 10-64, Deondre Walker 7-46, Tre’Von Hicks 3-33, Quinton Hall 7-8, Jamarius Carswell 3-4, Andre James 3-4.
PASSING–Butler: Evans 4-12-2 10; Laney: Hall 6-7-0 41, James 2-2-0 4.
RECEIVING–Butler: Marquise Leverett 2-14, Ronald Jones 1-2, Lambert 1-(-6); Laney: Horatio Keller 1-16, Vicente Thompkins 1-14, Dwayne Coleman 1-6, Jeremy Smith 2-6, Danye Washington 1-4, Nunnally 1-1, Myers 1-(-2).