Ean Shaw’s left hand had a fresh hole gashed in one of his knuckle; a small price to pay to start off the season with a shutout victory.
Lafayette defeated Bryan Station, 28-0, in the Adidas Kickoff Classic Friday night at Tates Creek. It was the Generals’ first shutout victory over a fellow Lexington school since 2011.
A dominant offensive rhythm was never fully established but Lafayette scored 21 of its points in the second half. The defensive effort, however, was apparent from the get-go.
“We ain’t playing no games. We’re ready to come out and compete against anybody,” said Shaw, a senior linebacker. “No matter who you are, we’re coming after you.”
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Some preseason questions facing Lafayette — which made Lexington history by appearing in back-to-back state championship games the last two years — were answered on Friday.
“Who’s at quarterback?” TeAndre Newcomb, a junior, was expected to take the reigns from Walker Wood (now at the University of Kentucky) but Coach Eric Shaw was coy in the preseason about who would be in the signal-caller’s seat. He was inefficient in his debut — 6-for-18 with two interceptions and no touchdowns – but was electric on the ground — 137 yards and a TD on 19 carries.
“How was the offensive line?” Solid. Jedrick Wills (now at Alabama) was the biggest name of a big front that graduated all but one starter (Tyler Moore). “There were little things we can work on, but we had like three sophomores and then I was the only returning starter coming back, and we had two guys out,” Moore said. “That just shows that we have people that are gonna step up and play.”
Perhaps the most important question — “How was the defense?” — provided evidence beyond the final score. Station controlled the ball for more than 25 minutes over 14 possessions and only reached Lafayette territory four times.
It was only Lafayette’s second shutout under head coach Eric Shaw, who wasn’t on the sidelines because he was serving a suspension stemming from last year’s state finals. Acting head coach Jon Lawson thinks the defense is well beyond where it was the same time last season.
“The defense is definitely more athletic, more knowledge, has better focus, and even good experience,” Lawson said. “It’s a group that’s really gained some chemistry in a short period of time and we are, at this point, much further than we were on defense and it really did show tonight.
“We were hitting this peak sometime towards the playoffs last year and right now we’ve already established ourselves as a team that has a strong defense.”
Lawson thinks the offense will find its groove. Ean Shaw just wants to keep giving it the opportunity to hit that mark.
“Our offense is going to come together regardless of how late we started to score (tonight),” Shaw said. “We’re gonna come out and stop anybody we can stop, and put our offense back out on the field so they can try again.”