With their playoff hopes likely on the line, Ranburne put a scare into LaFayette Friday. But the Bulldogs never got the big play that they needed late, and Ranburne fell 21-14.
It was a solid defensive showing for Ranburne, which came into the game surrendering over 32 points per contest. The Ranburne D was boosted by the return from injury of two of its best players.
All-state defensive lineman Carson Hall had missed most of the last four games, but he returned with a vengeance to record a team best 14 tackles, including five for loss.
Nearly as impressive was the play of Tylor Cornwell, who returned after a two-week absence and logged 11 tackles, with four producing negative yardage.
While Hall and Cornwell provided a sorely missed presence, it was two steps forward and one step back for Ranburne on the injury front. The Bulldogs played the game without leading receiver Tyler Craft, who hurt his ankle late in last week’s loss to Woodland.
The defensive effort kept Ranburne in the game, but this time the offense, without Craft, just couldn’t come up with the points it needed to put Ranburne on top.
The Bulldogs struggled to move the ball consistently all night as they managed a net of just 116 yards of total offense.
Ranburne was held to minus-19 total rushing yards due in large part to pressure and lost yardage on quarterback Jaxon Langley.
But even without one of his favorite targets, Langley was able to do enough to keep Ranburne in the game. He completed 13-of-28 passes for 135 yards and a touchdown.
Cornwell was the recipient of that scoring play, and he finished with a team-best 56 yards on four receptions.
Cornwell also led Ranburne’s modest rushing game with 25 yards on six carries. Ranburne’s only other touchdown came on a short run by Kaleb Benefield.
The loss puts Ranburne in a precarious position as it relates to the playoffs. The Bulldogs (2-5 overall, 1-3 in region) would need to win all of their remaining region games AND hope that LaFayette stumbles somewhere in the next three weeks. With Ranburne taking on Lanett this week that scenario seems unlikely.
A loss this week would mean that Ranburne almost certainly would miss the playoffs for the first time since 2016, its first season under head coach Stephen Bailey.
Ranburne’s game at Lanett has been moved to Thursday night due to the threat of rain Friday. Game time is still 7 p.m.