Originally created 09/24/05

Wildcats stamp mark in region with victory



Trash talk travels fast on the information superhighway.

With the graduation of Laney's top players from last season, the 2005 version of Wildcats read how they weren't supposed to be a region contender.

"All week long they were talking on the Internet that it was going to be a Lake Oconee battle between Morgan County and Greene County (in Region 7-AA)," Laney quarterback Chris Thomas said.

"They just threw us out of the picture. So we came in with a chip on our shoulder."

Laney's shoulders didn't matter at the game's conclusion. Instead, it was the foot of Morgan County senior kicker Alex Bish.

Bish missed two game-tying attempts in the final three minutes as No. 7 Laney pulled out a 13-10 win over the region rival Bulldogs at ARC Stadium.

The Wildcats' offense sputtered throughout the game, rolling up just 149 yards of total offense. But defense and special teams pulled Laney (5-1, 2-0) to the win.

Kenneth Walker's 77-yard kick return late in the first half set up one touchdown.

Thomas, who connected on all four of his second-half passes after going 0-for-6 in the first half, found a wide-open Devin Larmond in the end zone on a 27-yard play-action pass. Laney's 13 unanswered points helped it overcome a 10-point first-half deficit.

"We were disappointed with the way our offense executed in critical plays on offense," Wildcats coach Eric Parker said. "We should've been able to take the heat off our defense a little more than we did. But it's a region win against an undefeated team."

Morgan County (5-1, 1-1) played without starting quarterback Bancs Bowers because of a dislocated pinky suffered two weeks ago.

Bulldozing fullback Cameron Kiplinger filled Bowers' void, gained 158 of Morgan County's 202 rushing yards on 28 carries.

Morgan County threatened to knock off Laney twice late in the game, but two drives stalled around the 20.

Bish, who knocked in a 48-yard field goal in the first quarter, pushed a 34-yard attempt wide right with 2:40 remaining.

With 13 seconds left, Bish set up for a 39-yard attempt. Parker used two consecutive timeouts to freeze the kicker. It worked.

Bish missed right again.

"That's a lot of pressure, man," Parker said. " We just wanted to give him as much time to think about as we could."

Reach Chris Gay at (706) 823-3645 or chris.gay@augustachronicle.com