Lafayette’s slow start all too familiar heading into Week 3

Published 6:01 am Thursday, August 31, 2017

They’ve been here before.

The slow start for Lafayette has them soul searching and looking back in the history books, just a season ago. Back-to-back losses to Cleveland Central and Charleston put the Commodores back in the 0-2 hole they found themselves in last season.

Everyone remembers what happened in 2016, but that was a different year and a different team.

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This year’s start is one that has head coach Michael Fair puzzled. He told his team after the Cleveland Central loss that he may have ‘misdiagnosed’ his team in the heading into the season. After a 38-14 loss to 3A powerhouse Charleston the diagnosis is more precise.

“We feel like we’ve played against two real good football teams,” Fair said. “But, we don’t feel like they got our best. Until we can go out there and perform and give our opponents our best, we can’t expect much different. I’m excited about this week. Our guys are motivated.”

Lafayette will have the opportunity to lick their wounds and get back on track as they will be home three of the next four weeks, beginning Friday as they host North Panola in their home opener (7 p.m., 105.1 FM). It follows with next week’s Crosstown Classic and the big 1-5A region opener against West Point on Sept. 22. They have an open date on Sept. 15.

“We’ve taken a young football team on the road into two great football environments and we’ve learned a lot about ourselves,” Fair said. “Some of it we liked and some of it we didn’t. Our guys are ready to play another football game to get that taste out of their mouth.”

Ball security

This week’s game is not one to be viewed as a ‘get-better’ game, as they host a North Panola (2-0) team that is No. 4 in 3A in the newest AP poll. The Cougars have started the season with a 50-0 win over Coahoma County followed by a 20-13 win over Rosa Fort last week. Junior quarterback Kenneth Jefferson leads North Panola with six touchdowns and 412 yards through the air in two games.

A Lafayette offense that is averaging 12.5 points per game will have their work cut out for them against a stout Cougar defense. It is also an offense that has turned the ball over five times in the first two weeks of the season, with four of them being fumbles.

“We’ve been working ball security since we’ve started camp,” Fair said. “Until you go out there and don’t execute like you should the players somehow have put more importance on it, and coaches, the past two weeks. We’ve just got to hold on to the ball. The end. We got to make that happen.”