Ranburne got touchdowns from six different players and the Bulldogs’ defense pitched a shutout in the team’s season opening 41-0 win over Glencoe.
The game was a mismatch from the start, particularly when Ranburne’s defense was on the field.
“Our defense was in the backfield ever play, and it was not just one person. It was whoever wanted to be,” said Ranburne head coach Stephen Bailey. “They couldn’t run the ball at all, and then if they did drop back for a pass we were hitting them with defensive linemen. It was completely mismatched.”
Ranburne jumped out to a three touchdown lead before its offense ever made a significant impact on the game.
Tylor Cornwell got the Bulldogs on the board with a 47-yard punt return, then Ranburne got a pair of pick-sixes on back-to-back possessions. Sean Pollard had a 53-yard interception return for a touchdown and Tye Bailey picked one off over the middle deep in Ranburne territory and returned it 97 yards for the score.
Ranburne played without starting quarterback Ben Jackson, but backup Jaxon Langley filled in nicely, going 8-for-10 for 79 yards through the air and adding a rushing touchdown to help lead the Bulldogs’ multi-faceted scoring effort.
“I thought he did a really good job,” Bailey said. “We didn’t ask him to throw it much. I think he missed one read all night. He protected the ball really well. I was really proud of him and the way he handled himself.”
Jackson sat out nursing a sore left shoulder, but he should return to the starting role this week in the region opener against Gaston.
Hunter Hollis was the team’s leading rusher with 56 yards and a touchdown on nine carries Friday. That performance, along with his showing in the preseason jamboree two weeks ago has Hollis knocking on the door for more playing time.
“He’s kind of emerging. He did some things that impressed me on how he handled himself and how he carried it. We may see him get a little more work in the next few weeks,” Bailey said.
Hollis was one of nine Ranburne players who ran for 10 or more yards in the game. One of those players was expected starting running back Christian Smith, who carried three times for 23 yards. Smith sat out a large portion of the preseason due to a hamstring injury.
“He got three carries. He played a few snaps on defense. We’re trying to ease him back into it,” Bailey said. “He’s obviously not practiced full go in a while, so we’re getting him back into shape.”
Ranburne’s other touchdown came from Gunner Hollis, while Chris Bizauskas got credit for a safety to account for Ranburne’s final two points.
The Bulldogs will turn their attention now to Gaston for Friday’s region opener on the road. It’s the second of three straight road games to start the season, which had Bailey lamenting the lonely state of his home playing surface.
“The only thing that bothers me is I spent all summer getting the grass ready, and it’s going to be dead before we actually play on it,” he joked. “That kind of perturbs me. I’d like us to play that last week of July because that’s when the grass is the prettiest.”