High School Football

Lafayette football shakes things up after 3-8 season

These Generals have committed to Division I schools: linebacker DeVon Quincy (WKU), left, offensive lineman Landon Young (UK) and receiver "Lucky" Jackson (WKU).
These Generals have committed to Division I schools: linebacker DeVon Quincy (WKU), left, offensive lineman Landon Young (UK) and receiver "Lucky" Jackson (WKU).

Lafayette's football players had a tough time pulling on and squeezing into new form-fitting white jerseys for picture day last week.

Once the Generals got comfortable in the new uniforms, they went perfectly with the team's new attitude.

"We had a tough season last year, but everything's new this season," said junior Landon Young. "It's a night-and-day difference in the attitude, intensity and hard work we're putting in in practice.

"Nobody respected Lafayette football last year, so we're determined to come back stronger than ever."

After Lafayette went 3-8 last fall, snapping a string of 11 consecutive winning seasons, Coach Eric Shaw knew he had to shake things up.

"Every program that's used to winning eventually struggles," he said. "When you hit that wall it's a reality check, a wake-up call.

"I knew some changes had to be made, so we brought in some new blood in the coaching staff and the players have responded well."

Lafayette has some top-level talent, including three players who have committed to Division I schools.

Young, a 6-foot-7, 260-pound offensive lineman, committed to Kentucky before his sophomore year. Dontavion "Lucky" Jackson, a 6-2 senior wide receiver, and DeVon Quincy, a 6-3, 220-pound senior linebacker, announced for WKU this summer.

"I've got great confidence in all my teammates," Jackson said. "We're all more into it. We had high expectations last year, but we're going to get it done this year."

Walker Wood returns at quarterback. He showed promise last year as a freshman, throwing for 947 yards and five TDs, and running for 163 yards and two scores.

"A very intense, competitive young man," Shaw said. "He understands the game, and he's a great leader, too."

Malik Robinson will lead the ground game. Last year he rushed for 865 yards and nine TDs, and had 153 receiving yards. Shaw described Robinson as a fast downhill runner who "likes the physical piece of it, too."

Matt Silvestri and Evan Shaw will get some carries, too.

Jackson, who had 38 catches for 717 yard and four TDs last year, leads a receiving corps that includes Quinton Brown and Domynik Johnson.

The Generals' offensive line is big and athletic, with Young, Logan Kendrick, Jedrick Wills, Alex Simpson and Will Bischoff.

"Overall offensively, we're better than we've been in a long time," Shaw said. "I'm very excited that our offensive intensity matches our defensive intensity now."

Lafayette's defensive veterans include Quincy and Shaw at linebacker, and Mason Alstatt at safety. Alstatt led the team in tackles last year. Quincy and Shaw tied for third.

Noah Buckman, Taylor Cobb, Vence Hill and Dameon Black are among the guys who'll battle in the trenches.

Eric Shaw said he has preached to the Generals for years that they need to "respect the game by playing it the right way, at a high level of speed and aggression.

"From what I've seen this summer, we're there now."

Shaw credits his staff for generating "a lot of new energy" and helping to get his message across.

Lafayette's new assistants are Dennis Johnson, LaRon Clark, Enrique Shaw, Jelani Irby and Craig Smith. Alex Matthews, Lafayette's quarterbacks coach last year, will take over as offensive coordinator. Eric Shaw will be in charge of the defense.

The Generals' early schedule is demanding. They open the season against 6A champ Scott County, and follow that up with games against perennial powers Louisville Central and Lexington Catholic.