Sophomore running back Geron Johnson scored four times, a couple of those runs set up by big pass plays, and Bartlett ran away from crosstown rival Arlington 49-19 on Friday, Sept. 2.
Johnson scored the game’s first touchdown with a 3-yard burst, set up by a long completion from quarterback Braylen Ragland to wide receiver Jeremiah “Snap” Reed on third down and 28.
After Arlington punted on its first possession, Ragland connected with Reed again on a 36-yard completion to the 2-yard line, setting up another rushing touchdown for Johnson and a 14-0 Bartlett lead.
The Tigers (1-2) then drove deep into Bartlett territory. On fourth down and 4, quarterback Grant Buchanan scrambled away from the rush and hit Gabriel Torres, who took the ball to the Bartlett 14 yard line. But Arlington could not punch it in and settled for a 25-yard field goal.
Johnson then broke a big, 53-yard run for his third touchdown of the night, giving the Panthers a 21-3 lead with 8:42 left in the half.
After an Arlington punt, Ragland connected again with Snap Reed on a 45-yard completion. After a couple of strong runs by Terrell Neal, senior fullback Andrew Martin took a hand off up the middle for a 3-yard score, giving Bartlett a 28-3 advantage.
Just before halftime, Arlington’s Torres returned a Bartlett punt 81 yards for a touchdown and the Tigers completed the 2-point conversion, closing the gap to 28-11 at intermission.
But the Tigers stalled on their first drive of the third quarter and Johnson scored his fourth TD of the game on a 10-yard run, pushing Bartlett’s lead to 35-11.
The Tigers threatened to score again. Facing a fourth-and-7 from the Bartlett 27 yard line, Buchanan was sacked, and the Panthers took over.
That’s when Ragland connected on a 65-yard scoring pass, his only TD toss of the game with 202 yards passing on the night.
The Tigers were able to score once more, Torres again finding the end zone on an 11-yard shuttle pass from Buchanan that made the score 42-19 with 3 minutes remaining in the third quarter.
Terrell Neal scored Bartlett’s last touchdown on a 14-yard run and the final was 49-19.
“Every win is a big win,” Bartlett head coach Lance Tucker said after the game. “At this level, wins are hard to come by, I don’t care who you are.”
Reed finished the night with 107 yards receiving. Bartlett (2-1) had seven or eight plays that went for more than 30 yards against the Tigers, but Tucker was cautious about how explosive their offense can be.
“At times we can be, at times we look terrible,” he said. “It’s the third game of the year. We look at the first two as pre-season, and then the season really started tonight. We’ve got a lot of things to clean up. That’s our job as coaches, to get that done.”
Bartlett travels to play Lausanne (2-0) on Friday, Sept. 9. The Tigers will be at home Sept. 9 to face the Overton Wolverines (2-1). Both games kick off at 7 p.m.