TANNER — The Tanner Rattlers lived up their first No. 1 ranking since 1970 by trouncing visiting Lexington 49-7 here Friday night.
Coach LaRon White’s Rattlers exploded for 21 points in the second quarter and shut down Lexington’s offense.
White, a Courtland High graduate, admitted that his Tanner squad, the top-ranked Class 2A team, is trying to be good enough to be compared to the perennial state powers that Courtland and Hazlewood fielded in the 1980s and 1990s.
“We might be similar, but times and styles have changed,” White said. “But we’re trying to play old-style football.”
Tanner (4-0) made a believer out of Lexington head coach Jason Lard. The Rattlers had 320 yards, and the starters went to the sidelines early in the fourth quarter.
“I think Tanner will win it all,” Lard said. “I did a poor job of getting my team ready to play. They’re a well-coached, athletic team.”
Tanner had three touchdowns called back in the first half because of penalties, giving White something to harp on next week in practice.
But the Rattlers used a variety of weapons in amassing 320 total yards. UAB-bound Fred Rich had 11 carries for 94 yards and a touchdown. Hayden Stephens had 10 carries for 113 yards, three rushing touchdowns and a 85-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to start the second half.
Tanner quarterback Jonathon Fletcher was 6 of 8 passing for 71 yards and a TD pass. Kyle Shoulders also had a touchdown run.
“We just all do our jobs and play football,” Rich said. “What we do is not based on talent. It’s based on teamwork.”
White said his team’s goal was to shutdown Lexington’s running game, and it did. The visitors had 88 yards rushing, but 45 came on Andrew Cahill’s touchdown run in the fourth quarter against Tanner reserves. Lexington did not cross midfield until the fourth quarter.
Tanner turns its attention next week to R.A. Hubbard, which is a consolidation of Hazlewood and Courtland.
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