In Lexington's oldest football rivalry, Henry Clay went the old-time route — by ground — in beating host Lafayette 48-39 Friday night.
The Blue Devils ran the ball on 54 of 58 plays, piling up 418 yards. Junior speedster Joquise Buford led the way, carrying 22 times for 261 yards and five touchdowns.
Henry Clay quarterback Rhoman James was 2-for-4 passing, both completions going for 34 yards (one to Colby Barnes, the other to Buford) in the first half.
Other than that, the 16th-ranked Devils hugged the ground, or rather, they sped over the artificial turf.
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Buford was the pace-setter, but Davonte Robinson, the state 100-meter dash champ, rushed for 80 yards and a TD, and James added 71 yards and a score.
"I want to see us throw the ball a little more, but we take what they give us," Henry Clay Coach Sam Simpson said.
"If they're gonna let us run, we're going to run it. We've got a good offensive line that does a great job."
The O-line — Jordan Forsythe, Jordan Vaughn, Sullivan Simpson, Derrick Thomas and Michael Blythe, along with receivers Colby Barnes and the Berezowitz twins, Brayden and Zach — had its way with Lafayette's defense.
Forsythe, a 6-foot-2, 305-pound junior, said it doesn't take much daylight for the Devils' backs to break free.
"They only need an inch, really," he said. "I don't know how to explain their athleticism. It's just A-1. I love those guys."
Lafayette Coach Eric Shaw was impressed, too.
"Hats off to Henry Clay," Shaw said. "They've got a bunch of athletes over there with a lot of speed, and they're very good up front.
"Our focus coming in was to stop the run, but we didn't get that done. Anytime you can't stop the run, it's a long night."
UK Coach Mark Stoops was among the spectators watching the offensive fireworks. The teams combined for 87 points, a record total in the rivalry.
"I was kind of disappointed the two offenses couldn't play against each other," Sam Simpson said with a smile. "They're both so explosive.
"But our defense made some key stops. They did what they had to do, and I'm proud of them for that."
Joe Green led the Devils' defense with 6.5 tackles, including two sacks. Clark Dupree also had 6.5 tackles.
Henry Clay jumped to a 21-7 lead, but Lafayette rallied to tie it 21-21 on Walker Wood's 30-yard TD pass to Lucky Jackson, and Malik Robinson's 12-yard run early in the third quarter.
Henry Clay answered quickly, though, and retook the lead for good on Buford's 46-yard scoring run.
"Our sweeps were working, our o-line was making big holes, and our backs and receivers were blocking real good, too," James said.
No. 12 Lafayette kept attacking, with Wood providing the spark. The sophomore quarterback rushed 21 times for 136 yards and a TD. He was 8-for-18 passing for 138 yards and one TD. He was intercepted once.
Robinson carried 24 times for 114 yards and two TDs.
Jackson had four catches for 115 yards, and grabbed his 10th TD pass of the year.
Lafayette now leads the 67-year-old series, 36-32-2.
Henry Clay 48, Lafayette 39
Henry Clay 7 14 13 14 — 48
Lafayette 0 14 13 12 — 39
HC—Davonte Robinson 9 run (Taylor Dunbar kick). L—Evan Shaw 9 run (Colton Duprey kick). HC—Joquise Buford 1 run (Dunbar kick). HC—Buford 3 run (Dunbar kick). L—Lucky Jackson 30 pass from Walker Wood (Duprey). L—Malik Robinson 12 run (Duprey kick). HC—Buford 46 run (Duprey kick). HC—Rhoman James 10 run (pass failed). L—Mason Alstatt 76 kickoff return (kick blocked). HC—Buford 2 run (Dunbar kick). L—Robinson 5 run (Duprey kick). HC—Buford 6 run (Dunbar kick). L—Wood 2 run (run failed).
Records—Henry Clay 4-1; Lafayette 4-2