Panthers dominate Arcadia in win

By T. Scott Boatright

Consider the rivalry renewed.

Lincoln Preparatory School made the official Friday night as the Panthers roared to a 33-6 road win at Arcadia.

It had been since 2015 that a Grambling-based high school football team, then known as Grambling Laboratory High School had defeated the rival Hornets, and that wasn’t something lost on Lincoln Prep head coach Glen Hall.

Like a phoenix, Lincoln Preparatory School rose from the metaphorical ashes of old Grambling Lab at the start of the 2016-17 school year following a consent decree from the U.S. District Court following a decades-long desegregation order. Since then and until Friday, the Hornets had defeated the Panthers by a combined score of 172-45, winning 42-8 last season, 40-8 in 2019, 54-6 in 2018, 36-25 in 2017 and 36-6 in 2016.

Talking about the longtime sports rivalry between the schools earlier this week, Hall said a rivalry really isn’t one until each team wins every other year, or close to it.

So after the Panthers big win on Friday, the rivalry is officially back.

“I feel good because it’s my first time since I’ve been here that we’ve beat Arcadia,” Hall said. “The kids went in and focused on their roles and assignments. They were tied in all week. We had a great week of practices. They deserved this one.”

The Panthers took over early, leading 14-0 at the end of the first quarter and 20-0 at the half.

Hall said his team could have had an even larger lead at intermission.

“We threw a screen that went for 70 yards and it was called back,” Hall said. “We threw another bomb and it was called back. We made some errors that could have cost us. But these kids fought hard and overcame them.”

Dmitry Payne played a big role in Grambling’s win, hauling in five receptions for 152 yards, including scoring catches of 41 and 21, while adding 32 rushing yards and pouncing on a loose ball in the end zone for a third touchdown. 

Also playing a big role was junior running back Jamarion Buggs, who took over much of Lincoln Prep’s rushing duties when starter Chauncy Harper was injured after rushing for 33 yards on five carries while adding a two-point conversion run as well as making a tackle and picking off a pass on defense.

Buggs ended up leading the Panthers with 118 rushing yards on 17 carries while adding a tackle and a pass break-up on defense.

“Harper rolled his ankle and we ended up going with Buggs, our second team running back,” Hall said. “And he carried the load. Once he gets experience and lets us teach him to run low behind his pads, he’s going to be a good player.”

“We were able to control the ball with the run game. Then we were able to throw the play action pass off of that. We ran the screens, we ran the draws, and all that working together really helped us.”

Defensively, Lincoln Prep was led by Emmanuel Bryant, who totaled 13 tackles while adding a fumble recovery and breaking up a pass.

Rayshun Stringfellow added seven tackles for the Panthers while Amaru Landy added six tackles.

After starting 2-0 before losing big last week at Glenbrook, Hall is just pleased to see his team get back on a winning track and stand at 2-1 in District 2-1, especially when the Panthers travel to Shreveport to take on Calvary Baptist next Friday.

“I think sometimes when you’re not used to success, when it first comes to you — you don’t know how to handle it,” Hall said. “I think last week knocked us back into reality. Now we understand how to win and face defeats as well. Once you can do that you can overcome anything.”

Photo: Tony Valentino

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