Laney coach Eric Parker saw his offense execute with efficiency, pouring on 40 first-half points on the way to a 46-6 demolition of Harlem on Friday night.
Parker said he was impressed with the precision against Harlem, and for good reason -- the Wildcats needed only 18 plays to score six touchdowns in the first half.
But after the Region 3-AAA rout, Parker credited the real Bulldog hit men -- the Laney defense.
"We've got some big-play guys if we get it in their hands, but the defense really set everything up," Parker said. "The defense has been playing well all year. We've only allowed 19 points in the second half this season."
Laney (6-1, 2-1 in region play) forced four Harlem (2-3-1, 1-1) turnovers and continually set the offense up with great field position. The Wildcats' six first-half scoring drives all started in Harlem territory. J.K. Sabb and Wesley Hampton each picked off a pass, as Harlem managed only one completion in the game.
The Wildcats were struck by a Friday-the-13th jinx during pregame warmups, as freshman Kennie Eberhart suffered a pinched nerve and was taken away by ambulance.
"We need to have him checked out. He has had problems with that in the past," Parker said. "We've got quite a few seniors. This is a mature team, and they did a good job of putting that out of their minds."
Harlem's homecoming was spoiled from the opening kickoff. Laney's Antonio Burroughs shanked the kick, but Latray Walker alertly ran it down at the Harlem 37.
"He totally missed the ball, but the players knew it was a live ball, and we were able to recover," Parker said. "It was one of those plays where you go, `No, no, no ... yes!"'
Three plays later, Walker ran for a 4-yard touchdown, and the rout was on. Laney lineman Marcus Glenn buried a would-be tackler to spring Joey Finnie on a 21-yard scamper, and the next time the Wildcats had the ball, Nick Figgs completed a 43-yard touchdown pass to Seaborn Johnson to make it 20-0 after one quarter.
Keyeon Roberson blocked a Harlem punt, then recovered it in the end zone to make it 26-0. Walker upped the lead to 33-0 with a 12-yard run, and later in the second quarter, Zedrick Stewart returned a punt 54 yards to set up a short TD run from Finnie.
In the second half, Parker put his younger players in the game, and backup quarterback Latavis Walker responded with a solid performance, completing three of four passes. He also recovered a fumble, which led to Walker's touchdown with 8:15 left in the third period.
Altavias Dorsey put Harlem on the board in the fourth quarter. Bulldogs quarterback Domonique Brown pitched to Dorsey, who weaved for a 44-yard touchdown. Harlem senior Tristan Gilford was strong at middle linebacker and battled the Laney defense at fullback.
"We knew Harlem would come out and get after us, but we jumped on 'em early," Parker said.