Lafayette closes out 5-5 cam­paign with road vic­tory

The Catoosa County News - - SPORTS - By Scott Herpst

The Lafayette Ram­blers closed the book on the first sea­son of the Paul El­lis Era on Thurs­day night with a 34-14 vic­tory over Gilmer in El­li­jay.

“I’m re­ally proud of our se­niors,” El­lis said. “It’s hard for group of se­niors to buy in to a new coach­ing staff, but I thought they did that very well and they have put the blocks in place for the younger kids mov­ing for­ward. I was also pleased that they were able to end their high school ca­reers with a win.”

The Bob­cats, hop­ing to avoid a third con­sec­u­tive win­less sea­son, took an early 7-0 lead on a touch­down run mid­way through the first quar­ter. How­ever, Lafayette (5-5, 2-4) would an­swer on a 19-yard scor­ing run by Ja­mario Clements. Max Stud­dard, who would go 4-for-5 on ex­tra points, tied up the score.

Gilmer would drive in­side Lafayette’s 20-yard line on its next pos­ses­sion, but a missed field goal would give the Ram­blers pos­ses­sion at their own 25-yard line and the of­fense would cap­i­tal­ize. Lafayette drove 75 yards with Alan Hu cap­ping the drive with a 1-yard run.

Lafayette would ex­tend the lead to make it 21-7 at half­time as Jack Mar­tin got into the game on of­fense and scored on a 1-yard run with three min­utes left in the half.

Gilmer’s fi­nal touch­down came on a run in the first three min­utes of the sec­ond half, which cut the lead to seven. How­ever, Austin Rogers would stun the Bob­cats mo­ments later with a 70-yard kick re­turn to push the score to 28-14.

Lafayette would force a punt and they would drive in­side the Gilmer 5, but a fum­ble would end the scor­ing chance. The Ram­blers’ de­fense would re­turn the fa­vor early in the fourth quar­ter by re­cov­er­ing a Gilmer fum­ble at the 40, but the of­fense would be forced to punt it away as the Bob­cats re­took pos­ses­sion at their own 13-yard line.

How­ever, Gilmer would put the ball on the ground again and this time it was An­drew Pen­der­grass go­ing 20 yards with the scoopand-score to ac­count for the fi­nal six points of the evening and the sea­son.

Vyshonn Daniel went 11-of-16 for 131 yards for the Ram­blers, while Rodgers caught five passes for 96 yards. Tyrese Marsh picked up 62 yards on just two car­ries and Clements had 54 yards on six car­ries.

De­fen­sively, Brady Beard had 16 to­tal tack­les, in­clud­ing 10 solo, while Drake Bing had an in­ter­cep­tion.

“There were a lot of highs and lows this sea­son, but you can’t talk about what could have been and should have been,” El­lis said. “We were a cou­ple of plays away from be­ing 7-3 and we were also a cou­ple plays away from be­ing 3-7, so you have to keep it all in per­spec­tive.

“We showed in a cou­ple of games that we could han­dle some ad­ver­sity re­ally well, but I hope the big­gest thing that the kids got from all of it is some­thing we talked about all year long. We have to stop read­ing the names on the (op­po­nents’) jer­sey and just play the game. I re­ally thought we made strides with that and I think we have set the foun­da­tion for big­ger and bet­ter things.”

/ Keith Deal

Lafayette run­ning back Ja­mario Clements tries to pull away from a Gilmer de­fender. Clements had a 20-yard touch­down run in the Ram­blers’ sea­son-end­ing vic­tory in El­li­jay this past Thurs­day.

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