With a big-play rushing attack and late stands on defense, the Wildcats handed East Laurens its first region loss in a 26-12 decision Friday night at Laney.
“It gets us in position for the playoffs,” Wildcats coach Lemuel Lackey said of the win.
The Wildcats (4-3 overall, 2-1 Region 3-AA) rushed for more than 300 yards. George Myers, DeMarcus Nunnally, Jeremy Smith and DeAndre Walker each ran for more than 40 yards; Myers’ 120-yard tally led the pack.
The four combined for 11 runs of at least 10 yards.
Nunnally and Smith closed drives twice, and Smith came around for the handoff from Myers two times for 32- and 17-yard touchdown runs.
The Falcons’ rushers also had a strong game, with Taye Brantley and Co. churning out tough yards.
The difference was Laney’s defensive comeback.
After Smith’s second score made it 26-12 with 10:02 to go in the game, Laney’s defense stood up.
It looked like East Laurens (5-3, 3-1) was gaining steam by picking up 5 yards at a time, but a perfect read on a run led to a huge loss as the Wildcats eventually forced a punt.
The Falcons threatened again with 2:20 remaining. Though they moved the ball into Laney territory, the Wildcats defense broke up passes and held again.
In the second quarter, East Laurens led 6-0, but both teams had issues before halftime. In the first quarter, East Laurens lost two fumbles; Laney lost one and had some poor snaps.
However, Laney got long runs to take the lead away from East Laurens.
Myers was the leader, as he got a handoff and broke free down the sideline for a 33-yard burst. Nunnally followed from 22 yards out to earn his second touchdown and give his team a 14-6 lead.
Laney never lost the advantage as Smith scored twice and the Wildcats improved to 5-0 in the series.
“It was just about finding space and using my speed,” Smith said regarding his touchdowns.