Gor­don Lee de­fense smoth­ers LaFayette

Walker County Messenger - - Sports - By Scott Herpst

Pass-happy of­fenses putting up video game­like num­bers are all the rage in high school foot­ball these days.

But some­times there is sim­ply no sub­sti­tute for a good, old-fash­ioned run­ning game, com­pli­mented by a good, old-fash­ioned run de­fense.

Gor­don Lee proved that on Fri­day night.

The Tro­jans racked up 276 of their 292 yards on the ground and limited LaFayette to just 140 yards rush­ing (161 to­tal) in a solid 28-7 vic­tory over the Ram­blers at Jack King Sta­dium.

LaFayette had two more rush­ing at­tempts than Gor­don Lee (4442), but it was the Tro­jans who ran the ball bet­ter, nearly dou­bling LaFayette’s out­put on the ground. An even 100 of LaFayette’s to­tal yards came in the fi­nal 9:37 af­ter the Tro­jans had built an in­sur­mount­able 28-0 lead.

Gor­don Lee’s de­fense al­lowed just 37 to­tal yards and two first downs in the open­ing half. One of the first downs came on a Tro­jan penalty.

Gor­don Lee head coach Greg El­lis gave credit to the work that de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Josh Groce was do­ing on that side of the ball.

“We’ve re­ally worked hard since Josh came back on board and you can see what’s hap­pen­ing,” El­lis said. “These guys are play­ing their hearts out.”

The Tro­jans’ open­ing score came on its sec­ond pos­ses­sion as

they cov­ered 51 yards in 10 plays, tak­ing 4:15 off the clock. A big 19-yard catch on third down by Hunter Hod­son keyed the march as Braden Jarvis capped it with a 1-yard run with 1:39 left in the first pe­riod.

Gor­don Lee’s de­fense set up the next touch­down as Cordell Lang­ford re­cov­ered a fum­ble inside the Ram­bler 30. One play later, Jarvis went around left end and broke a tackle for a 28yard scor­ing run. Jar­rett Las­set­ter, who went 4-of-4 on ex­tra points, gave the Tro­jans a 14-0 lead at in­ter­mis­sion.

Hod­son’s 30-yard gain on a re­verse early in the third high­lighted an eight-play, 64yard drive. Full­back Har­ri­son Moore did the hon­ors on a 5-yard run off a trap play and quar­ter­back Austin Thomp­son closed out the scor­ing with 9:42 left in the game, fool­ing the LaFayette de­fense with a beau­ti­ful fake hand­off be­fore waltz­ing the fi­nal two yards into the end­zone.

Scor­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties were few and far be­tween for LaFayette, whose first snap in Gor­don Lee ter­ri­tory came af­ter Cody Deal re­cov­ered a Tro­jan fum­ble at the Gor­don Lee 16 with 2:16 left in the third quar­ter.

How­ever, a chop block penalty on third down backed the Ram­blers up to the Gor­don Lee 29 and two in­com­plete passes gave the ball back to the Tro­jans on downs.

LaFayette would move across Gor­don Lee’s side of the 50yard line three times in the fi­nal 9:37, but the first two drives ended on fourth down and time ran out on the Ram­blers’ fi­nal pos­ses­sion as they came up empty on three straight passes from the Tro­jans’ 12-yard line.

The Ram­blers’ lone score came on the de­fense side of the ball as Tyler Beard stripped the ball and re­turned it 33 yards for a touch­down with 3:33 to play. It was Beard’s sec­ond strip and re­cov­ery of the night.

Jarvis led the way with 173 yards and two scores on 23 car­ries for the Tro­jans, while Thomp­son had just 16 yards pass­ing on 2-of-9 at­tempts. Jarvis tried one half­back pass in the first half, which was in­ter­cepted by LaFayette de­fen­sive back Austin Rodgers.

Alan Hu had 68 of his team-high 75 yards rush­ing in the fi­nal pe­riod. Ty Fisher was 4-of-16 on the air for just 21 yards.

El­lis said hav­ing a week off fol­low­ing their sea­son-open­ing 20-19 loss at Dade County was ex­tremely ben­e­fi­cial to his team.

“That was big,” he added. “We wanted to play early and we had our chances to win that game. I thought our kids played re­ally hard tonight. We still made a cou­ple of mis­takes, but it’s still early in the sea­son.”

Gor­don Lee (1-1) will be at home this Fri­day to take on LFO, while LaFayette (1-2) will head to Cal­houn to face Gor­don Cen­tral.

LaFayette de­fend­ers Tyler Beard (26) and An­drew Pen­der­grass (27) look to bat down a pass from Gor­don Lee quar­ter­back Austin Thomp­son. The Tro­jans con­trolled the ground game on both sides of the ball and claimed a 28-7 win at Jack King Sta­dium. (Photo by Keith Deal)

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