Lafayette's one-man show gave the Generals some hope, but it wasn't enough to give them a victory.
A solid effort on both sides of the ball allowed Lexington Catholic to overcome a couple of special teams breakdowns and defeat visiting Lafayette 48-28 on Friday night.
The Knights opened up a 21-0 lead midway through the second quarter, but Lafayette senior Kylan Nelson scored three touchdowns in less than 3 minutes to give the Generals a chance.
Nelson started with a one-handed catch and run for a 10-yard score to pull Lafayette within 21-7 with 1:58 left in the first half. That was the score coming out of halftime, and that's when Nelson struck again.
He took the opening kickoff of the second half 89 yards for a touchdown to cut the Knights' lead to 21-14. When Catholic (1-2) answered with a quick touchdown, Nelson did it again. This time, he took the kickoff 90 yards for a score and Lafayette (0-3) was back within seven points.
It was all Catholic from there. The Knights scored 20 unanswered points.
Lexington Catholic Coach Bill Letton called Nelson's performance "spectacular," but said there was no excuse for giving up a return touchdown, much less two of them.
Still, Letton was pleased with how the Knights responded.
"We're not going to get too high or too low with what happens," he said. "We're just going to try and execute. You can't do anything about the previous play. You just have to go and play the next one."
Lexington Catholic quarterback Reese Ryan was making plays all night.
The junior threw three touchdown passes in a four-possession span in the first half to give the Knights their 21-0 advantage. Ryan, who already has scholarship offers from Louisville and Illinois, completed 20 of 29 passes for 270 yards and four touchdowns. He also ran for 42 yards.
"He's pretty good," Letton said with a smile. "I'm glad he's on our team."
Senior Noah Mitchell also had a big game for the Knights. He ran 16 times for 139 yards and two touchdowns and added a game-high eight receptions for 88 yards and another score.
"Noah did an amazing job," Ryan said. "He made a huge contribution, and I could have found him all night. He was just in the zone."
The Knights' defense had Lafayette quarterback Clay Bolin on the run for much of the game. The Generals had just 161 yards of total offense on 53 plays. Senior Chase Boling led Catholic with 8.5 tackles, two tackles for loss and forced a fumble that was recovered for a touchdown to put the Knights up 48-21 midway through the fourth quarter.
Nelson added a touchdown with 2:10 remaining to set the final score. He had 18 carries for 59 yards and a team-high four receptions for 34 yards to go with the two touchdown returns.
A 12-play, 80-yard drive ending with Ryan's 2-yard touchdown pass to sophomore Sam Letton put the Knights up 6-0 with 2:14 left in the first quarter. After a three-and-out by the Generals, Ryan struck again with a 30-yard touchdown pass to senior Mitchell.
Bolin threw interceptions on the Generals' next two possessions, and Ryan hit David Bouvier for an 8-yard touchdown to put Catholic up 21-0 midway through the second quarter.
Bouvier became the school's all-time leader in receptions. He now has 160 catches for his career, surpassing Wes Caldwell's previous high of 159.
Lexington Catholic 48, Lafayette 28
Lafayette 0 7 14 7—28
Lexington Catholic 6 15 13 14—48
LC—Sam Letton 2 pass from Reese Ryan (kick failed). LC—Noah Mitchell 30 pass from Ryan (Conor O'Brien run). LC—David Bouvier 8 pass from Ryan (Donovan Morris kick). L—Kylan Nelson 10 pass from Bolin (William Wester kick). L—Nelson 89 kickoff return (Wester kick). LC—Letton 31 pass from Ryan (Morris kick). L—Nelson 90 kickoff return (Wester kick). LC—Mitchell 4 run (kick failed). LC—Mitchell 2 run (Andy Thompson run). LC—Marty Brown 0 fumble recovery (kick failed). L—Nelson 6 run (Wester kick).