One side erupted in celebration. The other could only watch in silent disappointment.
It was close, but there was no home playoff win for Laney this season.
The Wildcats fell just short of posting back-to-back seasons with a home playoff victory, falling 24-20 to Benedictine in the first round of the Class AA state playoffs Friday night.
“It was a great season,” Laney coach Lemuel Lackey said. “The future looks bright.”
Freshman quarterback Andre James gave Laney hope when he found DeAndre Walker for a short touchdown pass, capping an 88-yard scoring drive with 1:26 remaining left.
However, Benedictine recovered the onside kick and ran out the clock behind Chance Jackson, who rushed for 101 yards on 32 carries.
The Wildcats, who defeated Morgan County 41-13 at home in the first round of the 2011 playoffs, got 108 rushing yards from George Myers but also hurt themselves with too many mistakes.
In the second half, Laney (7-4) was stopped on fourth down twice and threw an interception.
Those blunders helped the Cadets go ahead 24-14 on a Jackson run early in the fourth quarter.
The first half was a see-saw battled that ended with a 17-14 Benedictine edge at the half.
Both teams had poor snaps on punting plays, leading to short fields and touchdowns that helped the other side go on a 14-0 spurt.
Benedictine jumped out first behind Stevie Powers, who completed 12 of his 13 passes in the first half. One pass ended up in Brad Stewart’s hands when the receiver jumped up for the ball and secured it for the game’s first touchdown. Powers was particularly dangerous on short throws, taking advantage of the zone defense.
Later, a bad Laney snap essentially gave the Cadets (8-3) their second score before Laney leaned on its quick backs to charge back.
Myers had 61 rushing yards in the first half, but it was his interception of a Powers pass that started the push.
On the ensuing drive, which ended with a touchdown Myers rushed for 41 yards on four carries to help the Wildcats close the gap.
Benedictine then botched a snap on a punt, setting up another Laney touchdown.
Powers then guided the Cadets to a short field goal right before halftime to give his team a lead it didn’t give up.
“My hat’s off to them,” Lackey said of Benedictine. “They played well and they move on.”