If Jaxon Langley keeps this up, he could be in for an extremely productive year.
The Ranburne quarterback completed 15-of-19 passes for 245 yards and two touchdowns Friday as Ranburne defeated Wadley 33-12.
Langley, who is known among his Ranburne cohorts as “Slap,” has completed nearly 65 percent of his passes for 465 yards and five touchdowns, with just one interception through Ranburne’s first two games.
And that heavy workload has been placed on him by design.
“We’re not going to be a run-first football team,” said Ranburne head coach Stephen Bailey. “We’ll throw it early and try to loosen those defensive linemen up and get them tired.”
That’s how it played on Ranburne’s first possession of the game. Langley went 4-for-4 on a 4-play drive that covered 87 yards in 1:13 of game time.
Langley's first touchdown strike went to Tyler Craft for 21 yards with 7:48 left in the first quarter to give Ranburne a 7-0 lead. While Tylor Cornwell (5 catches, 104 yards and a touchdown) led Ranburne in receiving Friday, the growing connection between Langley and Craft could end up being prolific as the season goes on.
“They’re really good friends off the field, and obviously Craft has got some ability,” Bailey said. “He’s a long kid, run’s well enough, catches the ball real well. And they trust each other. He’s our inside slot receiver and everything is kind of designed to go through that first. And Slap looks for him. He does a good job trying to find him. It was another good night for him, and I hope, I feel like he’s going to have a good year.”
Craft finished with four catches for 64 yards and a touchdown and already has 10 receptions for 171 yards and three touchdowns for the season.
But he was far from the only threat on the field for Ranburne Friday.
The Bulldogs added to their lead with a 54-yard touchdown run by Langley on their next possession before Wadley's defense finally settled in and started slowing Ranburne down.
In fact, it was the Wadley defense that accounted for their first points of the night. Ranburne was on the move when Wadley linebacker Issac Minnifield forced a fumble on a Langley run, and the ball bounced into the arms of Wadley's Lakevion O'Neal, who raced 71 yards the other way for a touchdown that cut the Ranburne lead to 13-6.
Cornwell got to work again just before halftime, however, and stretched the lead to 20-6 with a 12-yard touchdown run with a 1:53 left.
He then opened the second half with a 29-yard touchdown catch that put Ranburne up 26-6. With the way that Wadley's offense was struggling to move the ball on the ground, that 20-point lead proved to be insurmountable.
Bailey said Wadley’s devotion to the run game helped the Ranburne defense hone in and slow them down.
“Offensively for Wadley, they’re going to be in the wing-t, so it’s downhill running,” Bailey said. “You kind of know what’s coming, and you can really focus a little more effort on the run game. It was just a little easier for us to be able to put all of our effort into that instead of having to worry about getting people covered. That made it a little easier.”
Wadley amassed just 85 rushing yards on 30 carries as a team and had only three first downs in the game. Jacob Marable was the workhorse for the Bulldogs as he carried 18 times for 56 yards.