LAFAYETTE — The LaFayette Bulldogs started their 2019 Class 2A playoff campaign off on the right foot with a 27-7 victory over the New Brockton Gamecocks on Friday night.
The game wasn’t always as attractive as the scoreboard suggests for the Bulldogs. Their first drive out of the gate ended on the second play when running back Ke’andrae Peterson fumbled a hand-off that the Gamecocks recovered in the end zone. To add insult to injury, quarterback Jordan Walker had trouble handling snaps that pitted the offense back deep in their own territory.
“It was like dé jà vu out there,” LaFayette head coach James Lucas said of the team’s poor start, referring to the team’s loss to Highland Home last postseason. “That’s the thing about football — you just have to play every play.”
LaFayette (6-4, 5-1) responded quickly to the early adversity, as Bulldogs’ Walker ran the ball 53 yards on the play immediately following a botched snap. A handful of plays after that, Peterson tight-roped down the sideline for a 16-yard touchdown.
The drive was vital in providing momentum for the Bulldogs moving forward.
Defensively, the Bulldogs were stout to say the least. Keep in mind, the only points on New Brockton’s side of the scoreboard came off of a turnover. Led by seniors Jacourias Webb and Jadarious Crim, LaFayette’s defense held the Gamecocks to just 174 total yards of offense on the night.
At pivotal moments throughout the game, this unit rose to the occasion, as they totaled three turnovers-on-downs and one interception at the hands of Crim. As stout and impressive as the defense was as a unit on Friday night, the team’s workhorse was defensive lineman Antavious Woody.
“He’s learning how to become a leader,” Lucas said of Woody. “Once that green light goes off in his head, oh my God it’s going to be something special.”
Woody, a 6-4, 255-pound sophomore, plays in all three phases for the Bulldogs. While seemingly never leaving the field, Woody still managed to have his name called time and time again.
“I try to go ahead and help them ball out,” Woody said.
Whether blowing up a hand-off in the backfield or flattening would-be tacklers, Woody quite literally helped pave the way for his teams’ victory Friday night.
Behind Woody and the team’s already-solid offensive line, the Bulldogs offense picked up 312 yards of offense — most of which came on the ground — and four touchdowns.
Three of those touchdowns came on the legs and arm of Walker, who finished with one touchdown pass and two on the ground. Walker took control of the game late in the first quarter and managed the game well the rest of the way.
This win marks the fourth season in a row in which LaFayette has advanced to the second round of the playoffs, but it’s clear that the team recognizes the opportunity ahead.
“We’ve got a high limit,” Woody said of where he expects the team to go moving forward. “We’ve just got to keep focus, keep practicing, keep watching film and stay on top of our game.”
Lucas was quick to praise New Brockton after the game.
“New Brockton’s going to be a great team. It’s this coach’s first year, and he’s going to be a monster,” Lucas said.
LaFayette managed to out-man the Gamecocks and overcome some worthwhile adversity in its win over New Brockton (5-6, 4-3). LaFayette will face Ariton in the second round of the class 2A playoffs next Friday.
LaFayette 27, New Brockton 7
NB — 7 0 0 0 — 7
LAF — 6 8 7 6 — 27
NB — Fumble recovered by defense for touchdown (XP good), 11:48
LAF — Ke’andrae Peterson 16-yard touchdown run (XP no good), 8:15
LAF — Ja’Marie Daniel 18-yard reception from Jordan Walker (2-point good), 7:06
LAF — Walker 4-yard touchdown run (XP good), 7:44
LAF — Walker 6-yard run (XP good), 11:27