This year’s Roy G. Walton Bowl featured a lot of grit and hostility between Lafayette and Tates Creek, but it was the Generals who were able to outclass the Commodores as they rolled to a 50-28 victory on Friday night.
The game’s momentum shifted back and forth in the first half before ultimately being claimed by Lafayette, but control of the game was not as easily attained by the officials as late hits and unsportsmanlike conduct calls littered the game throughout.
A total of 23 penalties for a combined 225 yards were called in the contest hosted by Lafayette. And that would have been appropriate had the game stayed close, but it didn’t.
The first quarter featured mostly just battles for field position as neither side was able to score until Lafayette’s Jordan Thomas picked off a pass from Tates Creek quarterback Luke Duby and returned it to inside the Commodores’ 25. The Generals’ offense capitalized by scoring on a quarterback keeper from Walker Wood.
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From there, Lafayette carried that momentum into the start of the second quarter where Wood tacked on two more scores, through the air these times, to give the team a 21-0 lead.
Right when it looked like the game was over, Tates Creek answered with two straight scores to send it in to halftime 21-14.
The Generals received the ball to start the half and gained some breathing room with a scoring drive capped off by a 6-yard run from Cameron Morgan. Then Lafayette’s defense broke open the game with a 48-yard interception return for a score to make it a 36-14 lead.
“That was big because that changed it,” Lafayette head coach Eric Shaw said of the back-to-back scores to start the second half. “It gave us some confidence.”
That was also the breaking point of tempers in the game with a lot more talking between the teams and an uptick in penalties.
It got to a point where Shaw felt the need to address both sides, as he took a timeout and gathered players from both teams near the middle of the field to try to deter this type of play.
“You gotta learn how to play through it. It’s as simple as that,” Shaw said. “We gotta fix that because teams are going to attack us that way. And we gotta be able to control our emotions and not allow someone to control them.”
The Lafayette win secured a sweep of the district for the third straight year. The Generals now head into a bye week before the first round of the state playoffs.
Tates Creek stays on the road to face Ashland Blazer next week.