LaFayette stopped a two game slide and picked up their first Region 5 win of the season over Prattville Christian here in LaFayette on Friday night. After back-to-back losses to Lanett and Randolph County the Bulldogs rebounded nicely, flexing their offensive muscle and blowing out the visiting Panthers 54-21.
“I’m pleased we stopped the bleeding and got the win,” LHS Coach Steve Coker said. “We showed some improvement on the offensive and defensive fronts. We had some success running the ball and our line did a good job of protecting Qua (Boyd).”
The Bulldog offense had their most successful showing since their season opener, as Boyd passed for 271 yards and the Dogs gained 189 yards on the ground. Steven Bledsoe had a career night, rushing for 128 yards, averaging 16 yards per carry. “Steven ran the ball really well all night and Qua threw the ball well,” Coker said. “But give credit to the offensive line, they did a good job of opening holes for our backs and protecting.”
Initially, the LHS defense struggled to contain the Prattville running game, but as the night progressed and the LaFayette offense kept piling up the points, the Panthers went to the air more, with little success.
LaFayette got on the board first, when Tay Landers blocked a Panther punt and Quan Whitlow picked up the loose ball and raced for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead after Joe Vines converted the PAT kick.
Prattville answered quickly when running back Shane Parks broke free for a 74-yard touchdown run just a minute later, tying the game at 7 with 8:32 to play in the first.
LaFayette responded with an impressive drive that ended with a four-yard Boyd TD run with 6:39 to play in the quarter. Vines kick was good, giving LaFayette a 14-7 lead, one that they would never relinquish.
The Dogs erupted for four scores in the second quarter, and while Prattville had some success, they still were three scores down at the half.
LaFayette’s first score of the quarter came when Boyd found Kentavious Landers for a 61-yard touchdown strike. Vines’ kick gave the Dogs a 21-7 lead just a minute into the second. After holding the Panthers on their ensuing possession, LaFayette struck quickly. Boyd connected with his favorite target this season, Vines, for a 51-yard touchdown pass with 7:09 to play in the half. Vines’ kick made the lead 28-7.
The last four minutes of the half saw a scoring frenzy. First Prattville battled back into the game when Parks scored on a 10-yard run. But LaFayette quickly responded when Bledsoe broke free for a 53-yard touchdown run with 3:17 to play. LaFayette’s lead was 34-14 after the failed kick.
LaFayette quickly regained possession of the ball after forcing a Panther punt, and Boyd struck again, this time finding Whitlow on a 37-yard TD pass with 1:38 to play.
With :13 seconds to play, Prattville ran in for a touchdown to narrow the gap to 40-21, but it would be the last points they put up in the game.
Boyd and Vines hooked up for their second touchdown of the night early in the third, this time on a 24-yard touchdown pass to up the lead to 46-21. The Bulldogs got a safety with 6:51 to play in the third then scored their final points on the ensuing drive when Whitlow ran it in from three yards out.
Boyd was outstanding in the game, completing 8-of-10 passes for 271 yards and four touchdowns, to three different receivers. He also ran the ball 10 times for 42 yards and a score.
Vines had another 100 yard receiving performance, finishing with 133 yards and two touchdowns on five receptions.
Bledsoe led the Dogs on the ground with 128 yards on eight carries and one score. Whitlow scored three times, once on the ground, once through the air and the other on the blocked punt; he finished with 52 yards receiving on two catches. Landers had one catch for 61 yards and one touchdown and Quen Whitlow caught one pass for 20 yards.
Kwon Ross was once again the defensive leader for LaFayette, finishing with a team-high nine tackles. Vines collected seven tackles and forced a fumble, which Cordeski Floyd recovered. Darnell Patten and Tequarri Whitlow both finished with six tackles each, and Mitchell Ross had four tackles.
The Bulldogs (2-2; 1-2) will step out of class this week when they host 3A Abbeville (2-2) at Bulldog Stadium on Friday. The Yellow Jackets have traditionally been one of the stronger teams in 3A, entering the season with the No. 9 ranking. The will bring a team that is very similar to the Bulldogs, in that they have a talented and athletic quarterback who can change the game. Coker says the key on Friday will be to slow Abbeville’s big signal caller.
Abbeville has never defeated LaFayette, they are 0-2 historically, and lost their last meeting in 2003 by a score of 56-0.
Kickoff is set for 7 pm CST.