Panthers pull away from Wildcats for big Region win

Coach Gary Adams led the Panthers to another big Region win Friday night against Ninety Six on the road.

The Batesburg-Leesville Panthers defeated Ninety Six 39-14 last week on the road to improve to 4-4 overall and 2-1 in Region 2-AA.

The Panthers host Fox Creek (4-4, 1-2) on Friday night for Senior Night.

The Panthers jumped on the Wildcats early as Ty Adams recovered a fumble on the third play from scrimmage. B-L then quickly drove 33 yards in three plays with Marvin Gantt scoring on a 22-yard run up the middle. Jackson Lorick’s extra point made it 7-0 with 9:42 to play in the first quarter.

Ninety Six would then come back with an 11-play, 69-yard drive that resulted in a 10-yard scoring run by Josh Booker with 3:42 to play in the quarter. Tyler Steele tied the game with the extra point to make it 7-7.

The teams exchanged several punts before B-L blocked the Wildcats punt and recovered at the 23-yard line. However, two plays later the Panthers fumbled an exchange, and Ninety Six reclaimed possession. Again the teams exchanged punts before B-L took over at the Ninety Six 45 after the Wildcats elected to go for it on fourth and a little over a yard.  Booker ran behind the left side of the line but Darius Dennis and Vernard Ramage were right there to throw him to the ground for no gain with 1:31 to play.

Two plays later, Keshoun Williams, who started at quarterback, rolled right and found Lorick behind the defense for a 34-yard touchdown pass with 1:14 to play. The extra point was wide left, and B-L led 13-7.

Ninety Six would move the ball into field goal range just before the half, and B-L jumped offside as Steele’s 42-yard attempt sailed through the upright but the play had been blown dead. Steele then knuckleballed the 37-yard attempt as B-L went to the half ahead 13-7.

By the half, B-L had tallied 111 yards to 105 for the Wildcats. Tre Robinson would return to start at quarterback for the Panthers in the second half and sparked the offense. B-L would punt on their first possession, but on the second drove from their own 33 to the Wildcats’ 14 before a Robinson pass would be deflected and intercepted at the 5-yard line.

Three plays earlier, one of B-L’s16 penalties nullified a 35-yard hook-and-ladder score as Robinson had passed to Williams, who lateraled the ball to Jahmad Barr-Williams for an apparent score that was called back.

After the interception, B-L would come right back with a fumble recovery by Matthew Boozer on the next play at the Wildcats’ 6-yard line. This time, B-L got into the end zone with no problem as Barr-Williams, playing for significant minutes for a banged up Gantt, scored from a yard out. The two-point conversion attempt was no good, and B-L led 19-7 with 6:56 to play in the third quarter.

Ninety Six would again answer, this time going 64 yards in eight plays with Booker scoring on a 20-yard run to make it 19-14 with 3:53 to play in the third. B-L would come back with a quick drive as they went 65 yards in five plays, with Barr-Williams doing the majority of damage on a 53-yard run. Gantt would get the touchdown on a 4-yard run. The extra point was no good, and B-L led 25-14 with 2:42 to play in the stanza.

This time the Wildcats would have no answer. They turned the ball over on downs on a badly executed fake punt at their own 46. Two plays later, Barr-Williams went around right end for a 38-yard touchdown.  Lorick’s kick made it 32-14 with 11:55 to play.
Another turnover on downs at their own 43 would result in a three-play scoring drive, this time with Robinson passing to Williams for 21 yards.  The interesting part of the play was that Robinson’s pass was badly underthrown, but as the defender fell down trying to adjust to the pass, the ball deflected off his lower leg, into the air and Williams alertly caught it and stepped into the end zone for the score. Lorick’s kick made it 39-14 with 7:46 to play.

Korey Williams would recover a Wildcat fumble on the next series, but the Panthers would be forced to punt and later managed to run the clock out with the reserves in the game as they claimed the 39-14 victory while tallying 411 yards of total offense, 300 in the second half, as Barr-Williams finished with a career-high 154 yards rushing.

Story by Jay Hendrix / Published October 19, 2019