Lanier’s Marcella Baity (28) gets tackled by Eastside defended Cody Mash (11) after gaining enough yards for a first down during Friday’s game. (Photo: Craig Cappy)
SUWANEE — Two players rushed for over 100 yards Friday night as Lanier took one step closer to its first-ever playoff appearance with a 40-10 win over Eastside.
Marcella Baity had 101 yards and a touchdown on just eight carries but Tario Fuller was the workhorse for Lanier (5-1, 2-1 Region 8-AAAA), rushing 24 times for 120 yards and two TDs.
Lanier only had a 10-point lead going into halftime but head coach Billy Wells was happy with the way his team responded and took back the momentum in the second half.
“I’m proud of our kids and how they came out in the second half and hopefully we’re growing up.” said Wells. “They were a playoff team last year and for us to come out play a quality opponent like that and come out with a win was great for us.”
The Longhorns received the opening kickoff and used up over five minutes off the clock with a drive that covered 69 yards on 13 plays. On fourth and nine from the Eagles’ 24, Lanier chose to go for it and Canyon Cook connected with Devin Valentine for a 24-yard TD pass to give the Longhorns a 7-0 lead.
Eastside (3-2, 1-2 Region 8-AAAA) moved into Lanier territory on the ensuing possession but on third down Austin Holloway’s pass was picked off by Grey Lee Williams, who returned it 65 yards for a TD. Lanier missed the PAT but held a 13-0 lead with 3:53 to play in the opening quarter.
After the two quick scores, neither team was able to move the ball with any success the remainder of the half but with the help of two personal foul penalties by the Longhorns, Eastside had first down at the Lanier 19. The defense stood tall with the help of a big tackle for loss by Ricky Viengxay on second down and the Eagles had to settle for a 31-yard field goal by Jake Shelton to cut the lead to 10 at halftime.
Eastside opened the second half on offense with a chance to make it a one-possession game but Lanier forced a quick three and out and went back to the ground game that was so successful in the first half going 65 yards on just six plays, all on the ground. Cook capped the drive off with his only rushing TD of the night from 30 yards out. Cook ended the game with 12 carries for 71 yards as the Longhorns rushed for a total of 303 yards.
Later in the third quarter, the Longhorns put the game out of reach with another impressive drive on the ground, this time going 60 yards on nine plays with Fuller punching it in from the three yard line putting the Longhorns up 26-3 heading into the fourth quarter.
Fuller added his second TD on a 32-yard run midway through the final quarter and Baity capped off the night with a 57-yard run up the middle that the defense gave up on because they thought he was down. His knee never touched the ground as he spun off the pile and took it the rest of the way.
“Certainly part of becoming more mature as a team is if you get a lead, challenging your team to become more physical.” said Wells. “Having two backs with over a hundred yards is a good goal for any team.”
LANIER 40, EASTSIDE 10
Eastside 0 3 0 7 - 10
Lanier 13 0 13 14 - 40
Lanier: Devin Valentine 24 pass from Canyon Cook (Ryan Edwards kick) 6:54
Lanier: Grey Lee Williams 65 interception return (kick failed) 3:53
Eastside: Jake Shelton 31 FG 5:16
Lanier: Cook 30 run (Edwards kick) 9:18
Lanier: Tario Fuller 3 run (kick failed) 1:07
Lainer: Fuller 32 run (Edwards kick) 6:22
Eastside: Quintrell Mathis 15 pass from Austin Holloway (Shelton kick) 4:43
Lanier: Marcella Baity 57 run (Edwards kick) 3:37