Lanett quarterback Kristian Story hit Seidrion Langston on an 11-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter, and the Panthers got a late fourth-down stop to take down Class 4A opponent Handley 20-15 on Friday.
After trading the lead with the Tigers during the second half, Story made the most of his third touchdown pass to put the Tigers up with just under 11 minutes left in the fourth quarter. An unsuccessful two-point conversion left Handley (3-2, 2-0) a touchdown away from taking the lead.
The Tigers threatened to retake the lead as the minutes ticked off the clock and eventually reached the Lanett 11-yard line with 49 seconds remaining in the game. The Panthers’ defense showed up when it absolutely had to, forcing a stop on 4th-and-2 to close out the game.
“I saw a lot of leadership. They were in the huddle telling each other, ‘Come on. We need one more stop,’” Lanett head coach Clifford Story said. “It was things as a coach you preach, but to see your players mimicking the things you say really meant a lot to me.”
The win saw Lanett (6-0, 3-0) answer when it had to again and again.
After trailing Handley 8-0 in the first quarter, the Panthers answered back in the second when Kristian Story hit Trey Abner on an 18-yard touchdown pass. Lanett took its first lead in the third, when Story hit BJ Smith on a screen pass and let the senior running back do the rest on a 46-yard score.
Handley grabbed the lead one final time, forcing Story and his teammates to put together some more heroics to remain undefeated.
“This game right here showed me we have enough grit and tenacity to go deep in the playoffs,” Clifford Story said. “I was so proud of my team because it was an up-and-down game all night long. For us to finally battle for fourth quarters and beat a team like Handley, I think it’s going to add some momentum to us moving forward.”
Kristian Story showed out once again, going 25-of-37 passing for 269 yards and three touchdowns while also rushing 11 times for 72 yards. He also had eight tackles and one forced fumble on defense.
Abner led the way with five receptions for 56 yards and one touchdown. He was followed by Smith, who had three receptions for 46 yards and one touchdown. Smith also contributed six tackles, two forced fumbles and an interception in the victory.
D’Quez Madden led the team with 10 tackles. Dametrious Johnson had eight tackles, and Kadarius Zackery had five tackles and an interception.
Rutilio Olea was 2-for-2 on extra-point attempts.
Lanett has a bye week this Friday before playing at Loachapoka in a region game on Oct. 11.