Wednesday, April 24, 2024

State playoffs: Laney football nearly pulls out upset in defensive grudge match

4AA Playoffs

No.  1 Wake Forest 7    No.  5  Laney 6

Coming off their impressive road win and first playoff victory since 2011, there weren’t too many football fans in the area who thought Laney would be able to hold its own against unbeaten Wake Forest. But once again, the Bucs proved the naysayers wrong on Friday night in their 4AA second-round matchup.

Although the final score did end on Laney’s side, the Bucs nearly pulled off what would have been the upset of the postseason as top-seeded Wake Forest had just enough in the tank to pull out a 7-6 victory.

Imeek Watkins put Laney on the board early in the game on a five yard score as the Bucs rode another impressive performance by its defense. Karl Lane and Travone Greene each had an interception, while Cayman Czesak, Ryan Daborowski and Travone McGhee filled the gap up front.

Watkins had a 5-yard touchdown in the first quarter after sophomore quarterback Sherod Sidbury engineered the scoring drive, which included a key three-down conversion on a big catch from Alfahiym Walcott to move the sticks.

Karl Lane kept the momentum rolling with a key interception on the next drive, but consecutive penalties backed Laney up and forced a punt.

Laney’s offense turned the ball over in the second period, which led to a field goal try for Wake Forest on the ensuing possession.

With the Bucs still in front, 6-0, Laney’s defense continued to step up and this time senior tackle Lewis Powell was there for the stop.

The grudge match continued into the second half as the defensive match up held true with senior linebacker Cayman Czesak getting into the mix.

Laney was finally able to get the offense going late in the third quarter with a big completion over the middle from Sidbury to Walcott.

But, the Laney possession stalled and as the game moved in the final frame, Wake Forest made just enough happen on a key drive for the game winning score.

The 35-yard run set up a 1-yard score with 10:42 to play in regulation.

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