It turned out to be a not-so-fond farewell to Ishmael Stadium for Lafayette's football team Friday night as the Generals lost to Simon Kenton 33-6 in the first round of the Class 6A playoffs.
Simon Kenton, led by a rock-solid defense and star running back Miles Simpson's four touchdowns, won a post-season game for the first time in 15 years.
"It's been a long time coming," Pioneers Coach Jeff Marksberry said. "It's just tremendous. Everybody has put his heart and soul into it. The kids who have stuck with it kept fighting and believing."
It was supposed to be a cheerful night for Lafayette.
The school welcomed back its alumni, including members of its first football team from 1946, to mark the coming end of Ishmael Stadium, which will be razed after the season to make room for a new facility.
But the night had a dreary, rainy ending as Simon Kenton, a fourth-seed, dominated the No. 1-seeded Generals, who lost their sixth consecutive playoff game since 2003.
Lafayette's defense had given up only 81 points in its first nine games before it was trashed by defending state champ Trinity 65-0 last week.
Marksberry was shocked that his Pioneers rolled over the Generals' defense.
"We were scared to death," he said. "If you'd told me we'd put up 33 on those kids, I would have said there's no way."
Simpson led the way. He had three TDs — two rushing and one receiving — in the first half to stake Simon Kenton to a 19-0 lead.
The 6-foot-3, 195-pound junior added a fourth TD in the second half. He pushed his season totals to 1,700 yards rushing and 28 TDs.
"He's a stud, a legitimate prospect," Marksberry said.
The Pioneers' defense did itself proud, too. Led by Matt Neal, Austin Baldwin, Dirk Murray and Nik Brown, it kept Lafayette spinning its wheels in the mud all night.
"Our defense sets the tone every game," Simpson said. "It came out here and blew up (Lafayette)."
That didn't surprise Marksberry.
"I thought we were much more physical than them, I thought we were in better condition, and I thought we played harder," he said.
The Generals got an early clue this wasn't going to be their night when Eric Shaw, who stars on both sides of the ball, hurt his knee on his first carry. A few minutes later, he aggravated the injury on defense when he tried to tackle Simpson.
Shaw spent the rest of the night on the sideline, on crutches.
Down 26-0, Lafayette finally scored on a 22-yard pass from Matt Britt to Gary Demus in the third quarter. But the TD failed to ignite any kind of comeback.
Lafayette Coach Rob Sayre made no excuses.
"Simon Kenton is a big, physical team. They're well-coached, and (Simpson) is a heck of a back.
"We've got to get in the weight room and work on getting stronger. We'll keep plugging away, keep getting better and moving this program along."
Simon Kenton 6 13 7 7—33
Lafayette 0 0 6 0— 6
SK—Miles Simpson 18 run (pass failed). SK—Simpson 48 pass from Chad Lawrence (run failed). SK—Simpson 1 run. SK—Nik Brown 4 run (Repka kick). L—Gary Demus 22 pass from Matt Britt (pass failed). SK—Simpson 1 run (Repka kick).
Records—Simon Kenton 7-4; Lafayette 7-4.
First downs 15 12
Rushing yds 183 13
Passing yds 106 168
Passes 7-4-0 45-20-0
Punts-avg. 4-32.0 7-28.9
Penalties-yds 5-40 7-52
Fumbles-lost 3-1 0-0