Bartlett answered an early touchdown by Lausanne, then took control of the game in the first half Friday night, Sept. 9, posting an impressive 42-31 win against the top Memphis-ranked team in the state in Class II-AA.
The Panthers (3-1) were solid on both sides of the ball, running it when they had to, making big plays and keeping standout Lynx quarterback Brock Glenn and his offense under control.
Glenn, a 6-foot-2, 200-pound senior who is committed to play at Ohio State, showed his cannon arm on the first possession, hitting receiver C.J. Jordan on a 42-yard strike to give Lausanne (2-1) a quick 7-0 lead.
But Panther quarterback Braylen Ragland answered with a 60-yard touchdown pass of his own to Deshaun Catron. Bartlett tried an on-side kick, but the Lynx recovered it in good field position. Bartlett’s defense held, forcing a punt after pressuring Glenn to throw incomplete on third-and-16.
That’s when the Panthers got the ball into Catron’s hands again on an end-around and he raced down the sideline 75 yards for his second score, giving Bartlett a 14-7 lead with 8:41 left in the first quarter.
It was a lead Bartlett would never relinquish.
The Lynx made it 14-10 on a 38-yard field goal by Max Gilbert, and Bartlett punted on its next possession, then forced a fumble which the Panthers recovered at the Lynx 40 yard line.
Geron Johnson made Lausanne pay, ripping off a 27-yard burst into the end zone to make the score 21-10 Bartlett early in the second quarter.
Less than a minute later, Lynx senior running back Zamariyon Kendall, who ran for 140 yards against Bartlett, got free in the secondary and ran 82 yards for a touchdown, keeping Lausanne close at 21-17.
Bartlett had to punt on its next possession, giving the ball to Glenn and the Lynx at about midfield. But the defense would not allow Lausanne to score and Glenn quick-kicked on fourth down, pinning the Panthers down at the 2-yard line.
That’s when Bartlett began to dominate the game and time of possession. From the 2, Ragland and running backs Johnson and Terrell Neal pounded out large gains behind an offensive line that opened big holes.
At the end of the 98-yard drive, Ragland kept the ball on a keeper and scored from a yard out, giving Bartlett a 28-17 lead at halftime.
“Our kids played hard tonight and made some big plays,” head coach Lance Tucker said after the game.
Few were bigger than the second-half kick off, fielded by senior Rahmaan Rinkin, who went the distance 100 yards for a Bartlett touchdown.
“Anytime you get points coming out of halftime on special teams, that’s huge,” Tucker said.
The return stunned the home crowd and made the climb much steeper – 35-17 – for the Lynx to get back into the game.
But Glenn did his best. He passed and scrambled the Lynx to a couple of first downs and got them to the Bartlett 10-yard line. On third-and-goal from the 3, Glenn dropped back and then tucked the ball under his arm, running up the middle across the goal line to make it 35-24 with 3:42 left in the third quarter.
But Bartlett answered again, putting together another long drive with some key third-down conversions and a fourth-and-1 conversion barely into Lynx territory. The drive ate a bunch of clock and ended with a 7-yard burst by Geron Johnson to make it 42-24 Bartlett with just 5:37 left in the game.
Lausanne scored late on a 58-yard pass and run from Glenn to Kendall, then Bartlett ran out the clock for the 42-31 final.
Glenn finished 11-for-20 for 140 yards and two touchdowns. He ran it nine times for 37 yards and one touchdown. The Lynx totaled 195 yards on the ground.
But Bartlett dominated time of possession and ran the ball very effectively. Twice the Panthers were backed up inside the 5 yard line on punts, but dug their way out, not giving Glenn and the Lynx good field possession.
Ragland showed a lot of poise and leadership in the pocket, making smart decisions, protecting the ball, buying time for receivers when needed, and running when it made sense.
Bartlett held the ball for 32:20, more than double Lausanne’s 15:40 time of possession. The Panthers gathered 19 first downs, seven more than the Lynx.
Bartlett had more than 400 yards in total offense, more than 240 yards rushing.
“Our kids have worked their tails off all year long and it paid off tonight because we had to run the football,” Tucker said. “We were getting 3, 4 yards a clip and as long as we were doing that, I was going to keep calling the run.”
Tucker said his team is learning how to win, but how will it handle success? This next game at 6A Region 8 powerhouse Germantown (4-0) on Friday, Sept. 16, will tell that story.
“We’ve got to have another good week of practice and go from there,” he said.