ST. JOSEPH♦ St. Joseph: Lafayette's big-play capability told the tale Friday night as they took down the visiting Chillicothe Hornets, 44-7, in Midland Empire Conference play at LHS' Alumni Stadium.
Game statistics were far more balanced than the points totals on the scoreboard, the difference being the Fighting Irish's speed allowed them to put the ball in the end zone three times when they got in the open, while Chillicothe's biggest plays – several less than Lafayette (5-1, 3-1 MEC) generated – produced only yards, not points.
Aside from a couple of fluke plays which cost them a combined minus-25 net yards, Chillicothe (1-5, 1-3) rushed for about six yards a carry on 36 attempts (205 yards total), including pickups of 54 and 31 yards in which Lafayette defenders chased down the Hornets ballcarrier before they could reach pay dirt. CHS also out-gained Lafayette through the air 74-39, including a 59-yards catch-and-run that also saw the Chillicothe player caught from behind, leading to a missed scoring chance.
Overall, Lafayette's long gainers buttressed a clear, but not overwhelming, 349-254 yards advantage in total offense. Chillicothe actually ended up with four more first downs on the night, but never started a possession beyond its own 23 until its last two drives, the first of which put its only points on the night on the board and the second of which died at the LHS 17 when time ran out.
Chillicothe had a ballcarrier reach the century mark in yards gained for the first time this fall. With seven yards on his final carry and the game's penultimate game, junior Tyler Long went to 105 yards picked up on the night in 12 carries. More than half of those yards came on one 54-yards trek in the second stanza.
Lafayette's top running back, senior Jurell "Jellybean" Green also was in triple digits, dashing for 132 yards on a mere eight carries with two touchdowns. Like Long,more than two-thirds of those came on one try, a killer 89-yards sweep late in the first half one play after a long Chillicothe drive had died at the Irish 11.
That gave Lafayette a 30-0 intermission lead just after it had looked like the Hornets might claw within 22-7 at the half.
When LHS' Kenny Grant picked up the dropped attempt by a teammate to field the second half's opening kickoff and dodged his way through the Hornets to take it 77 yards for a score 19 seconds into the third quarter, the "running clock" went into effect.
It stayed so until D.J. Gannan's 5-yards run got Chillicothe on the scoreboard with 6:17 to go and Johnathan Stanfield kicked the extra point. Lafayette's reinstituted the accelerated timing procedure only 1:14 later when Travis Webster went around left end for a 31-yards score with 5:03 to go.
Page 2 of 2 - As with the total offense, Lafayette had an advantage, but certainly nothing reflective of the final score. The Fighting Irish had three takeaways, only one of which they turned into points, while Chillicothe matched the home team's one interception (Zach Alperin) and also recovered the lone Irish fumble (Tommy Kincaid).
Next on Chillicothe's docket is a likely-even-tougher home date against undefeated Savannah next Friday.