LEXINGTON — Lexington kept its playoff hopes alive Thursday night as the Golden Bears celebrated homecoming with a 39-11 victory over Cherokee.
Quarterback Brandon Putman ran for 135 yards and two touchdowns on eight carries and also threw a scoring pass to spark the Golden Bears (5-4, 4-3 region).
Lexington will make the playoffs as the No. 4 seed in Class 2A, Region 8 if Sheffield beats Hatton tonight. A Hatton victory, meanwhile, would create a three-way tie that would not be resolved until the end of the regular season.
“It was a big win for us and hopefully it will put us in the playoffs,” coach Jason Lard said.
“I thought our kids played hard and really got after it. Overall, it was a good win and now we have to correct our mistakes and get ready for next week.”
Lexington wasted no time taking control. After a 7-yard punt by Cherokee (2-7, 0-7). The Golden Bears scored on their first offensive snap when Putman took a keeper 30 yards to stake Lexington to an early 7-0 lead.
Early in the second quarter the Bears struck again, this time on a 21-yard scoring run by John Taylor Greer. Spencer Adams’ extra point made it 14-0.
Putman then went to the air for the next score, hitting Wade McNutt for a 21-yard touchdown pass that extended Lexington’s lead to 20-0.
Lexington muffed a punt return late in the
half and Chris Stanley recovered for Cherokee. The recovery led to a 25-yard field goal by
Will Moore on the final play of the half,
trimming Lexington’s advantage to 20-3 at halftime.
The Golden Bears, however, took complete control in the third quarter. Payton Davis scored on a 7-yard run and Putman added his second score on a 22-yard run to push the lead to 33-3 midway through the third quarter.
“I couldn’t be more proud of the job Brandon has done for us this year,” Lard said. “He is one of the guys we count on and he played really well tonight.”
Wes Shirley capped the scoring for Lexington with a 15-yard touchdown run with 8:01 remaining.
Cherokee added a score in the final minute as Stanley capped a 15-play, 87-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown run. Will Moore passed to David Alfaro for the 2-point conversion to make the final 39-11.
Davis added 87 yards rushing on 11 carries for Lexington, which had 313 yards rushing as a team.
Lexington closes out the regular season next Friday at Lauderdale County, while Cherokee plays at Waterloo next Thursday.