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‘No panic’ for Lafayette after opening loss

They have been here before. Nearly a year to the day.

Lafayette was staring at a 0-2 record after the first two weeks of the season last year and most people were ready to write them off. Then everyone knows what happened in the weeks that followed.

The Commodores are hoping history repeats itself, but with one fewer loss as they stay on the road this week and travel to Class 3A powerhouse, and 2016 state runner up, Charleston Friday night (7 p.m., 105.1 FM).

After taking one on the chin last week — and becoming a historical footnote — in their 21-13 loss to newly formed Cleveland Central, Lafayette’s morale is still where it was when the season began.

“There’s no panic in any of us. Coaches and players,” Lafayette head coach Michael Fair said.

Out of 22 starters from their 2016 championship team, only five returned. Players where on the junior varsity team a season ago remember what happened and have used that experience on the sideline a year ago, on the football field this season.

If there is a bounce-back this week, Lafayette (1-0) will have to do it against a stout Tigers team. Charleston (1-0) kicked off the season with a 22-6 win over West Bolivar last week. After being shutout by Oxford in the Chargers’ jamboree game two weeks ago, Charleston’s offense scored two touchdowns off passes from quarterback Dontarius Cosby. Running back Quynn Crawford rushed for 87 yards on seven carries.

Last year Lafayette hosted Charlston and defeated the Tigers 34-21.

Self-improvement

After last week’s game, Fair was discouraged by the mistakes he saw his team make. Fumbles and missed tackles were the key culprits to Lafayette’s loss. Two touchdown runs that went for 31 and 69 yards were killer’s. The play of the defense was not uninspiring the entire game —Lafayette still had a chance to tie the game in the final drive — but the big plays ended up costing them.

After watching film, Fair was confident those mistakes could be corrected and his team can find their way in the win column come Friday night.

“I think if we hold on the football we got chances to win late in that game, of course,” Fair said. “It’s been a point of emphasis for us this week, for sure. …I thought our defense played really, really hard. Our play up front has been phenomenal. We’re close. We’re very close.”