For openers, Lafayette controlled the line of scrimmage — both sides.
The Generals also dominated special teams.
Those were just a few of the ways Lafayette routed visiting Mason County 55-6 in Friday night's season-opening football game.
Lafayette outgained the Royals 415 yards to 148, although Mason County ran eight more plays.
The extra plays came in part because of Lafayette's success on kick returns.
Kylan Nelson returned three punts for 207 yards, including touchdowns of 81 and 87 yards.
"We have guys like 'JC' (Justin Carr), Nick Lincavage and T.J. (Broadus) — all the defense — and they block for me. They make holes," Nelson said. "And the Lord blessed me with speed, so I make things happen."
Coach Carl Hayden wasn't getting carried away in the moment, though.
Asked how such a convincing win set his team up for the season, he said, "I don't feel it does. It's done and over with."
"We have a tough schedule. I feel if we're in the frame of mind to be champions and want to be the best, we have to play the best and compete with the best and, if everything goes right, beat the best. So we've got a tough schedule coming up in the next few weeks and we're ready to get after it."
Lafayette got after it Friday after fumbling away the opening kickoff. The Generals played error-free after that en route to a 34-6 halftime lead.
The muffed kickoff, recovered by Trae Lofton, led to a 29-yard field goal by Jacob Tompkins.
Tompkins added a 28-yarder on the final play of the half.
In between those scores, Lafayette went wild.
Josh Dunn took a lateral from Garrett Peavler and ran 6 yards for Lafayette's first score.
Nelson scored on two punt returns, and Peavler passed to Nathan Oakley for a 5-yard score and ran 2 yards for another.
Peavler finished 13-for-16 passing, good for 275 yards and a pair of TDs.
The Generals tacked on third-quarter TDs on a 32-yard pass from Peavler to Tranard Chester, plus Darius Hughes' 4-yard run. Lincavage ran in a fourth-quarter score from 2 yards out.
As unstoppable as the Lafayette offense was, the Generals' defense may have been even better.
"We expect as a defense to shut them down. We've got goals as a defense," said linebacker Justin Carr, who was in on 12 tackles. "The big people up front — Noah Brown, Devin Clay — they open up holes for us. We've just got to go make the tackles. Our defensive coordinator puts us in the position to make plays. We've just got to go make them."
The tone was set after the game-opening fumble.
Mason County gained 4 yards on three plays before settling for a field goal.
"We really try in practice to focus on mental toughness," Hayden said. "If things don't go your way, things don't end up how you feel they should, you've got to look inside and say 'I'm not going to take it anymore' and turn it on and do things you need to make it right, and I feel the guys did a good job of that tonight."
A good job, but just the first step on a season-long trek.
"I will enjoy it for the next eight hours," Hayden said, "until I have to get up in the morning and get ready for next week."
Lafayette 55, Mason Co. 6
Mason Co. 3 3 0 0— 6
Lafayette 14 20 14 7—55
MC—Jacob Tompkins 29 field goal; L—Josh Dunn 6 run (Nathan Gillespie kick); L—Kylan Nelson 81 punt return (Gillespie kick); L— Nathan Oakley 5 pass from Garrett Peavler (kick blocked); L—Nelson 87 punt return (Gillespie kick); L—Peavler 2 run (Gillespie kick); MC—Tompkins 28 field goal; L—Tranard Chester 32 pass from Peavler (Gillespie kick); L—Darius Hughes 4 run (Gillespie kick); L—Nick Lincavage 2 run (Gillespie kick).
Records—Mason Co. 0-1, Lafayette 1-0.
Mark Maloney: (859) 231-3229. Blog: markmaloney.bloginky.com