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Quick take on prep football: Ranburne Bulldogs

Wadley at Ranburne Action BW 21.JPG

Ranburne's Tyler Craft carries the ball during the 2020 Wadley at Ranburne game.

2021 SCHEDULE

Aug. 20, vs. White Plains

Aug. 27, at Wadley

Sept. 3, vs. Vincent*

Sept. 10, at Randolph County*

Sept. 17, at B.B. Comer*

Sept. 24, vs. Woodland

Oct. 1, at LaFayette*

Oct. 8, vs. Lanett*

Oct. 15, at Horseshoe Bend*

Oct. 22, vs. Fayetteville*

*Class 2A, Region 4 game

2020 RESULTS

Aug. 21, White Plains (A), L 37-21

Aug. 28, Wadley (H), W 33-12

Sept. 4, Vincent (A), W forfeit

Sept. 11, Randolph County (H), L 42-27

Sept. 18, B.B. Comer (H), L 46-18

Sept. 25, Woodland (A), L 20-19

Oct. 2, LaFayette (H), L 21-14

Oct, 8, Lanett (A), L 48-0

Oct. 16, Horseshoe Bend (H), W 20-12

Oct. 23, Fayetteville (A), W 27-21

HEAD COACH

The 2021 season will be Stephen Bailey’s sixth as head coach at Ranburne. Bailey is 30-26 in five seasons as a head coach including a 3-3 mark in the Class 2A playoffs.

CLASS, REGION

Class 2A, Region 4

LAST YEAR

4-6 overall, 3-4 region. Ranburne was one region win short of a fourth consecutive playoff appearance.

HOW IT WENT IN 2020

LaFayette’s 21-14 win over Ranburne at midseason last year put LaFayette into the Class 2A playoffs and kept Ranburne out. The two teams will meet in LaFayette this season. Ranburne allowed 42 points to Randolph County, 46 points to B.B. Comer and 48 points to Lanett in its other three Region 4 losses.

KEY RETURNEES

RB/LB Kaleb Benefield, WR Tyler Craft, C Sawyer Downs, RG/DE Carson Hall, RB/LB Landon Harmon, QB/CB/S Jaxon Langley, WR/LB Cade Mitchell, LT/N Michael Norton, DT Caleb Pollard, WR Mason Stewart, LB Jaydon Williams, LG Rhett Williamson, RT/DE Bo Young

OUR TAKE

Ranburne’s offensive line returns intact from 2020 with center Sawyer Downs, guards Carson Hall and Rhett Williamson and tackles Michael Norton and Bo Young. Quarterback Jaxon Langley will have two experienced running backs in Kaleb Benefield and Landon Harmon. Mason Stewart returns as a receiver. Graduation cost the Bulldogs two wide receivers. Cade Mitchell and Austin Olds are expected to fill those holes.

Tyler Craft and Stewart were primarily offensive players last year but will add work in the secondary. Mack Smith and Truett Ward will be available at cornerback. Benefield will move from weak-side linebacker to outside linebacker in 2021. Williamson becomes the weak linebacker.

Hall and Young return at the ends on defense. Norton will again be the nose. Caleb Pollard has experience at defensive tackle if a four-man front is needed. Harmon, Mitchell and Jaydon Williams are experienced linebackers.

The expectation is that all that experience will translate into at least four wins in Region 4 this time around.

WORD FROM COACH BAILEY

“I think that defensively we’re going to be better. … To me, it really has to do with just tackling. You watch our film from last year and we did not tackle the football very well. … We’ve got to be able to run the football better than we did last year. We were basically nonexistent running the football last year. That has got to happen. I think it will because we’re so much more experienced on the offensive line. They’ve had time to learn what’s going on and grow up, get stronger over the summer.”

Sports Correspondent Rip Donovan: 256-236-1551 or 256-235-3557.