Batesburg-Leesville’s offense might not have that go-to player like in years past, but it’s showed the capability to put up big numbers.
Against Bamberg-Ehrhardt last week, the Panthers racked up 411 yards and 41 points in a 41-20 win over the previously unbeaten Raiders.
Going into the game, B-E’s defense had given up four touchdowns and 30 points this season. B-L nearly eclipsed that mark in the first quarter with 27 points, earning The State’s Team of Week honors.
“That was a big win for us,” Batesburg-Leesville coach Perry Woolbright said. “We knew we had to get some big plays and put pressure on them.”
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Much like it’s done most of the season, B-L did it with a variety of weapons as five players scored touchdowns. In previous years, the Panthers relied on the running of Terrence Wilson, who set school records with 4,692 yards and 93 touchdowns.
This season, it’s been the combination of quarterback Bishop Cannon, running back Tyreek Tolen and receiver Devaros Pugh.
Cannon rushed for 185 yards, threw for 119 yards and accounted for two scores against B-E. For the season, Cannon has accounted for 1,368 yards of total offense and 16 touchdowns.
Tolen leads the team in rushing with 685 yards and five TDs. Pugh is the team’s top pass catcher with four TDs.
“Guys like Terrence Wilson don’t come along too often, so we knew we were going to have a lot of people touch the ball,” Woolbright said. “And we are doing a good job of that. We have a good running game and have a lot in our short passing game, so teams can’t hone in on one player.”
The offensive weapons have meshed well with a veteran defense, which returned nine starters, and gives the Panthers a strong chance to make another deep run in the playoffs.
B-L is tied for the Region 5-2A lead with No. 1-ranked Barnwell, and will play the Warhorses in the final regular season game. The Panthers also have games against Silver Bluff and Calhoun County before the matchup with Barnwell.
“We know every week in our region is like a playoff game, so we got to be ready to go each week,” Woolbright said. “That will help us coming into the playoffs, because we will be battle tested each week.”