The fireworks came early and often Friday night at John W. Curtis Stadium as Many routed Bunkie 73-28.
The pregame article mentioned video game numbers and the Tiger offense did not disappoint. But surprisingly, Bunkie traded blows with the top-ranked Tigers until almost halftime. Then a 77-yard Jeremiah James kickoff return touchdown lifted Many out front to stay, and the Tigers unleashed a 32-point explosion over the first eight minutes of the second half to blow open the contest.
Many won its eighth straight on Senior Night and rose to 8-1 overall with a perfect 5-0 District 3-2A record. The defending 2A state champs are No. 1 in the LHSAA power points rankings and the state sports writers top 10 poll.
The scoring started quickly as the Panthers from Bunkie scored on the first play from scrimmage. A 71-yard touchdown run right up the middle of the Tigers defense put the Panthers up 7-0 with the extra point kick.
The Tigers answered right away. Tylen Singleton returned the kickoff 55 yards to give the Tigers a short field. Jack Deville, starting at quarterback in place of the injured Tackett Curtis, handed three times to London Williams, the last a 17-yard touchdown run that tied it at 7 following the Deacon Lafollette extra point kick.
Following a three-and-out by the Many defense, the Tigers needed only four plays to cover 60 yards and move on top. Trent Williams scored from 14 yards out, and Lafollette added the kick for a 14-7 lead with 8:08 still left in the opening quarter.
Late in the first quarter, Many started at its own 19 and stretched the lead to 21-7. James, coming off an ankle injury, entered the game and picked up 32 yards on three carries in the scoring drivce. London Williams accounted for 49 yards, punching in the touchdown from 6 yards out. Lafollette added the kick at the 10:30 mark of the second quarter.
On the Tigers’ next possession, a fumbled snap led to the Panthers scoring on an 8-yard return, cutting the advantage to 21-14 with 8:50 left in the half.
The Panthers tied the game on their next offensive snap, getting a 50-yard run to tie it at 21 just under three minutes later. It didn’t take long to change.
London Williams added his third touchdown on a 52-yard run. Lafollette converted the kick for a 28-21 edge with 4:59 left in the half.
After recovering another Many fumble, the Panthers had a short field to work with and scored on a 23-yard touchdown pass, knotting the score at 28 with 1:56 left in the first half.
Then came the game changer. James fielded the ensuing kick at the 13-yard line, made a couple of beautiful cuts and took it all the way to the end zone for an 77-yard return. Bunkie blocked the extra point kick, but the Tigers entered halftime leading 34-28.
The Tigers started the third quarter in beast mode. On the opening play, London Williams bolted in from 67 yards, then added the two-point conversion to lift Many up 42-28. The TD, his fourth of the night, pushed him over the 200-yard rushing mark and more followed.
After stopping Bunkie on the next possession, James came up big again, this time with a 56-yard TD scamper. He also added the conversion to provide the first comfortable lead of the night at 50-28, with 8:50 left in the third.
Seconds later, Bunkie fumbled and Many nose guard Nick Tatum returned it 42 yards for another Tiger TD. London Williams added the two-point conversion blow things open, 58-28. From this point, 8:30 to go in the third period, the coaches agreed to run the clock as the outcome wasn’t in doubt.
The Tigers didn’t relax. On their next possession, they needed exactly one play as James once again made a house call, making a good cut to break free for a 78-yard touchdown run. London Williams added the conversion to increase the damage to 66-28.
London Williams added his fifth touchdown at the 10:10 mark of the final period on a 68-yard run. After Lafollette added the kick, the tally stood at 73-28.
The Tigers amassed 521 yards, all on the ground, while Bunkie totaled only 147.
Many rides to Lakeview next week to end the regular season.
11: 40 B – 71 run (kick good), Bunkie 7-0
10:07 M – London Williams 17 run (Deacon Lafollette kick), tied 7-7
8:08 M – Trent Williams 14 run (Lafollette kick), Many 14-7
10:30 M – L. Williams 6 run (Lafollette kick), Many 21-7
9:15 B – 8 fumble return (kick good), Many 21-14
6:00 B – 50 run (kick good), tied 21-21
4:59 M – L. Williams 52 run (Lafollette kick), Many 28-21
1:56 B – 23 pass (kick good), tied 28-28
1:40 M – Jeremiah James 77 kickoff return (kick blocked), Many 34-28
11:30 M – L. Williams 67 run (L. Williams conversion run), Many 42-28
8:50 M – James run (James conversion run), Many 50-28
8:30 M – Nick Tatum 42 fumble return (L .Williams conversion run), Many 58-28
4:53 M – James 78 run (L. Williams conversion run), Many 66-28
10:10 M – L. Williams 68 run (Lafollette kick), Many 73-28
M – L. Williams 14-299, 5 TD’s, James 6-174, 2 TD’s, T. Williams 4-37, 1 TD, McLendon 1-9, Deville 2-3
B – 27-115, 2 TD’s
B – 5-14, 32 yards, 1 TD
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