Coming into Friday night Lafayette's defense was, to say the least, suspect.
Against top-tier competition — No. 4 Trinity and No. 3 Scott County — the No. 16 Generals yielded 70 and 65 points, respectively. It learned a thing or two from those losses, holding off No. 6 Bryan Station 19-12 on the Defenders' home field.
It was the second-fewest points Lafayette (5-2) has given up all season. The Generals allowed seven to Boone County, an 0-6 squad averaging 11 points a game, on Sept. 11.
Generals quarterback Walker Wood said his team wasn't too worried about the steady rain that enveloped the night.
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"We got a big O-line and they did a great job tonight," Wood said. "With a line like that you can run the ball every play and be all right."
Wood made the most of that big offensive line, pacing the Generals' rushing attack with 141 yards on 26 carries, finding the end zone twice.
Mason Alstatt did major damage on the ground as well, carrying 29 times for 135 yards and the Generals' other touchdown against Station (5-2).
Lafayette Coach Eric Shaw thinks the rain gives his team a slight advantage since it's so proficient at running the ball in good conditions. He was impressed at how his defense performed in Friday's less-than-ideal weather.
Highly-touted offensive linemen Landon Young and Jedrick Wills have seen snaps on the defensive line in recent weeks for the Generals. Shaw said that has helped Lafayette's depth. Their intimidating size is a factor, too.
"You put guys out there that look like that, it can't do nothing but help ya," Shaw said.
Young, a University of Kentucky commit, hadn't played much on the defensive side of the ball since his freshman season.
"I've been missing it," Young said. "... I love being able to get on that other side and help our defense get stops. So I can turn around and get on that other side of the ball and put it right into the end zone."
Pulaski Co. 43, Henry Clay 0: Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops was at Pulaski County Friday night to check out one of his top prizes in next year's recruiting class, Henry Clay's Davonte Robinson, and the safety didn't disappoint, notching 8.5 tackles. But despite the senior's best efforts the Blue Devils couldn't keep Pulaski Co. in check.
Stoops got an eye-full of the Maroons' offense. They gained 364 total yards, doing most of their damage on the ground. Pulaski rolled up 266 rushing yards on the Blue Devils, led by senior George Gregory who rushed 15 times for 157 yards and a touchdown while averaging more than 10 yards per carry. He also added a 9-yard touchdown catch in his first game this season as the starting tailback after relieving injured starter Jaylon Conwell in last week's game.
"We've got a spot in our offense that's a hybrid receiver and running back," said Maroons head coach Johnny Hines. "We moved George into that spot and he played a great game. He isn't a really big kid, but he runs the ball hard and makes big plays."
After a month in which it had been firing on all cylinders, putting up no fewer than 34 points in any of its September games, the Blue Devils' offense hit a road block against the Maroons.
Henry Clay only managed a total of 14 yards on 26 rushes as a team. Junior safety Jake New led the defensive attack for the Maroons, wrapping up 7 solo tackles and hauling in an interception. Pulaski converted 17 first downs to the Blue Devils' four.
The second quarter proved to be the backbreaker for Henry Clay. A 9-yard touchdown from Mason Helton with 2:07 left in the half was the third Pulaski touchdown of the quarter and sent them to the locker room with a 36-0 lead. Helton added his second touchdown of the game early in the fourth quarter to finish out the scoring.
"Our kids on defense just really gave a big effort," said coach Hines. "Our defensive line messed up some of their blocking scheme and it was just a great all-around effort by a young team that's coming together.
Stoops' visit Friday marked the first time a sitting Kentucky head coach visited a Pulaski Co. home game according to Hines. "Coach Stoops came to see Davonte Robinson, but he told me before the game that he wanted to see Pulaski play," said Hines. "It was a great honor for us. We're glad they know we're down here."
Collins 23, Franklin Co. 0: The Flyers offense couldn't get off the ground against Collins. It managed just 86 yards, all on the ground. The Titans' 236 yards of offense was enough to send Franklin County to its first defeat of the season. Conner White led the way with 12 rushed for 114 yards and a touchdown for the home team, Which will travel to Central Hardin next week.
Pikeville 56, Hazard 28: The seniors were the stars for Pikeville in its Class A bout with the Bulldogs.
Running back Daric Pugh had four rushing touchdowns for the Panthers, including one from 59 yards out. Quarterback Wyatt Battaile scored on the ground as well, taking a keeper 67 yards to the house. He also tossed two touchdown passes, one from 31 yards out and the other from 71. Both went to wideout Chatlin Jarrell.
Senior quarterback Cole Ratliff starred in the losing effort for the Bulldogs, scoring twice on the ground and once through the air. Both teams head into next week with records of 5-2. Scott 43, Harrison Co. 0: The Eagles were more than comfortable sticking to the ground against the Thorobreds. All six touchdowns in their shutout win came on rushes.
Senior running backs Roberto London and Deondre Pleasant each ran for a pair. Starting quarterback Danny Fitzgerald added a 43 yard score and his backup, sophomore Nelson Perrin, ran in another from 32 yards out. Scott’s defense has offered the offense plenty of protection this year.
Friday marked the fifth game this season the Eagles (6-1) have held their opponent to 7 or fewer points. They’ll look to continue that trend at home against Bourbon Co. next week, while Harrison Co. (2-5) will look to rebound at home against Mason Co.
Cabell Midland (W.Va.) 49, No. 21 Belfry 7: Devin Stapleton rushed for 216 yards and five TDs, including one for 67 yards, for the Knights, who handed the Pirates their first loss this season. Midland is the top-ranked team in West Virginia's biggest division.
Belfry (5-1) managed just 136 rushing yards total. It had averaged 341 per game entering Friday.
No. 4 Trinity 20, No. 7 St. Xavier 15: Jailen Reed had three first-half TDs to lead the Shamrocks to their 40th win in the series.
Trinity (6-1) leads St. X (4-2) 40-37-2 all-time.
“In rivalries like this, you find a way to win,” Trinity Coach Bob Beatty told the Courier-Journal.