Henry Clay tops visiting Lafayette 34-23

mmaloney@herald-leader.comSeptember 27, 2013 

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Henry Clay's Thomas Dupree grabbed a fumble Friday night. "Lafayette's been a thorn in our side for a while, so I knew they'd play hard," said Blue Devils coach Sam Simpson.

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Henry Clay simply ground out a 34-23 victory over visiting Lafayette on Friday.

The undefeated Blue Devils (5-0) ran 62 times for 445 yards.

"We did some good things up front," winning coach Sam Simpson said. "We kept running the ball hard. We have three good backs that we keep giving the ball to and letting them pound it out."

Elijah Bell led the way with 247 yards on 31 carries, scoring three touchdowns in the process.

Davion Jackson added 112 yards on 19 carries, while Rhoman James had 70 on just two totes.

Lafayette (1-5), which had won this game four of the last five years, put up a good fight.

Playing without their top two quarterbacks due to injuries, the Generals led 9-7 at halftime and 16-13 through three quarters.

"The kids are working their butts off, and that's all I can ask for," Coach Eric Shaw said. "We're battling a lot of issues now — injuries. It's one of those things that's part of the process. (We're) trying to implement a new style and a new attitude about how this game should be played. I am very, very proud of them. But we're going to keep working. That's all we can do."

Daquan Robinson, a senior linebacker, led Henry Clay's stout defense.

"I believe we had a pretty good practice this week, so we came out and we kept our focus," said Robinson, who totaled six tackles. "We wanted to win the game. ... We came out the first half, it was a little sloppy. But the second half, for some reason, we always pick it up and come out with the win."

Lafayette led 9-7 at halftime, getting a 41-yard field goal by William Wester with four seconds left.

The other first-half points came within a 12-second span.

Henry Clay scored with 10:14 left in the half on a 20-yard pass from Sammy Carter to Austin Black. James had the big gainer on the five-play, 95-yard drive, a 66-yard run to the Lafayette 26.

On the ensuing kickoff, Kylan Nelson retrieved a squib and ran 76 yards up the middle for a touchdown, although Lafayette missed the extra point.

Henry Clay outgained Lafayette in the half 198 yards to 119, including a 176-87 edge on the ground. James had 70 of the rush yards and Bell had 75. Lafayette's Nelson totaled 85 and would finish the game with 106.

The teams traded third-quarter touchdowns.

Bell tallied on a 51-yard scamper, but Lafayette countered with a 34-yard fumble return by Malik Robinson to make it 16-13 heading to the fourth quarter.

On the second play of the stanza, Carter hit Colby Barnes in stride for a 49-yard touchdown, and a two-point conversion made it 21-16 for the Devils.

Bell would add fourth-quarter scores of 9 and 21 yards, the latter coming on the final play of the game. The 9-yarder came seven plays after Sydney Hugle's end zone interception.

Malik Robinson got Lafayette's final touchdown on an 8-yard run with 2:39 left, which brought the Generals to within 28-23. But they never got the ball back.

"Lafayette's been a thorn in our side for a while, so I knew they'd play hard," Simpson said. "It's a big win for us. We're happy to win one in the city and, now, keep plowing."Henry Clay 34, Lafayette 23

Lafayette 0 9 7 7—23

Henry Clay 0 7 6 21—34

HC—Austin Black 20 pass from Sammy Carter (Taylor Dunbar kick); L—Kylan Nelson 76 kickoff return (kick failed); L—William Wester 41 field goal; HC—Elijah Bell 51 run (kick failed); L—Malik Robinson 34 fumble return (Wester kick); HC—Colby Barnes 49 pass from Carter (Bell run); HC—Bell 9 run (Dunbar kick); L—Malik Robinson 8 run (Wester kick); HC—Bell 21 run (no PAT try).

Mark Maloney: (859) 231-3229. Twitter: @MarkMaloneyHL. Blog: markmaloney.bloginky.com.

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