Panthers run over Bulldogs 33-7 in Region win

Shantrell Hendrix reels in a Tre Robinson pass and tip-toes into the end zone for a Batesburg-Leesville touchdown – cause for great celebration. (Staff photo by Shane Jackson)

Batesburg-Leesville dominated the Silver Bluff Bulldogs Friday night by running over, through and around them.

Marvin Gantt led the way with a season-high 33 carries for 145 yards and three touchdowns. B-L ran the ball a season-high 55 times on the night as they rolled up 410 yards of offense while allowing just 154 yards to the Bulldogs.

The B-L defense also forced four turnovers in the win as B-L improved to 3-4 on the season and 1-1 in Region 2-AA play.  This Friday night, the Panthers travel to Ninety Six to face the Wildcats at 7:30.

After fumbling the opening kickoff, things ran smoothly for the Panthers the rest of the night. On the second play for Silver Bluff, B-L forced a fumble, and Ty Adams recovered at the 49. B-L would then go 51 yards in 12 plays, with 11 of them being runs. Gantt would score from a yard out on a direct snap as B-L went up 6-0. The point-after attempt failed with a bad snap.

After a Bulldog punt, B-L took over at their own 44 and drove 56 yards in 10 plays as Tre Robinson connected with Shauntrell Hendrix for 28 yards and a touchdown. He caught a pass in the front corner of the end zone and tip-toed near the line for the score. The two-point conversion attempt failed, and B-L led 12-0 with 10:06 to play in the first half.

Two plays later, the Bulldogs fumbled, and Keshoun Williams recovered at the Bulldogs 42. Gantt nearly scored on the next play as he went for 37 yards but had to wait a play before scoring from five yards out.  A kick by Jackson Lorick made it 19-0 with 9:12 to play in the second quarter.

The Panthers attempted a pooch kick, and Jahmad Barr-Williams was able to recover it at the Bulldogs’ 33 yard line. Gantt’s running and Robinson’s passing moved the ball down the field before Robinson connected with Williams for a 12-yard touchdown. It was the third time the Panthers scored on the drive, but penalties negated the first two.  Lorick made it 26-0 with five minutes to play in the half.

Thanks to a bad snap on a punt attempt, B-L took over at the Bulldogs’ 10-yard line but turned the ball over on downs inside the 1, and the Bulldogs were able to run out the clock on the half.

In the third quarter, the Bulldogs took the opening kickoff and marched 66 yards in seven plays with Donovan Bush breaking loose for 51 yards before Darius Johnson scored from two yards out. An Oscar Lopez kick made it 26-7 with 8:55 to play in the third quarter.

B-L would answer right back with a five-play, 62-yard drive. Robinson connected with Williams for 40 yards to the 6, and Gantt scored on the next play to make it 33-7 as Lorick was true with the kick.

The defense would play huge in the second half as well, as Hendrix intercepted a pass at the 5-yard line and returned it to the 39 to stop a Bulldog threat in the third quarter. In the fourth quarter, Darius Dennis recovered a fumble with 4:12 remaining, and B-L would be able to run the clock out down the stretch to claim the win.

Story by Jay Hendrix / Published October 17, 2019