Round 1 roundup: Laney notches 1st playoff win in a decade

Columbia rushes for 666 rushing yards, beat Athens Academy

With their 67-31 win over Worth County on Saturday, the Laney Wildcats won a playoff game for the first time since 2013.

Wildcats senior quarterback Javaris Harris had nine carries for 173 yards and two touchdowns, and added another 81 yards and two touchdowns in the air. Senior Danny Daggett had three total touchdowns, one rushing and receiving, plus a pick-six. Senior Carl Holmes had 200 total yards with rushing and receiving touchdowns, and an interception.

The Wildcats, a No. 2 seed from Region 4, improve to 8-2. Their point total is a season-high, and tops the previous week’s total, when they shut out Glenn Hills 50-0 in their regular season finale. Up next is No. 3 Pierce County, the No. 1 seed from Region 3.

Wildcats third-year coach Ronnie Baker credits Laney for sticking to the script as a reason for the offensive outburst.

“I attribute this offensive success to our offensive line and our execution of the offensive,” Baker said. “I think the game Saturday was no different from any other game but I know that the atmosphere was good for our player and that brought a lot of excitement because it was a home playoff game.”

Though Baker is pleased with the first round win, he said that it comes with the expectations.

“I think every win is big for our program going forward, trying to get our program to the next level,” Baker said. “Meaning, we have been to the playoffs the past three years and now we shouldn’t be satisfied with just making the playoffs.”

Baker is expecting a challenge from Pierce County.

“I just know Pierce County is a very good team that plays extremely hard, and is very well coached,” Baker said.

Columbia routes Athens Academy

The Columbia Eagles beat Athens Academy 53-26 behind 666 rushing yards. Lamaze Williams had 300 yards and five touchdowns, and Jaden Baugh had 13 carries for 295 yards and two touchdowns. Williams and Baugh, both seniors, are both over 1,000 yards for the season.

“It’s a testament to the O-line,” Eagles fourth-year coach Greg Barnett said. “They’re doing an immaculate job. We want to carry that momentum through the playoffs.”

With the win, the Eagles improved to 8-3. As the No. 2 seed from Region 5, they’ll play Region 6′s top seed North Cobb Christian next week.

Last year in the first round, North Cobb Christian eliminated the Eagles 14-6.

“They’re a well-coached team with talented pieces at different positions,” Barnett said. “We’re looking for a competitive game, but a different result.”

Should the Eagles pull off the win, they’ll be in the quarterfinals for the first time since 1997. They don’t want to stop there, though.

“The ultimate goal is to get to the championship,” Barnett said. “So, the quarterfinals would be good, but the goal is to be playing in December.”

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