Lafayette, Oxford start season off with pair of jamboree wins
If two quarters of a jamboree game are to be believed, Lafayette could have a completely different outcome to their season than they did in 2017.
The Commodores hosted South Panola for at William L. Buford Stadium on Friday and looked impressive in their 20-7 win. Back to full strength with all their players recovered from injuries suffered a season ago, Lafayette came out like a team determined to find their way back to a state championship game.
The offense was sharp, led by quarterback Randy Anderson. The junior used his legs and his arm, proving he can be a dual threat for the Commodores. Anderson threw for 64 yards and a touchdown while rushing for 38 yards and another touchdown on the ground.
“There a was just a couple things that we’ve got to clean up that were just drive killers,” Lafayette head coach Michael Fair said. “But, if we can clean that stuff up we’ve got a chance to be pretty good on offense. That’s what we’ve been seeing (out of Anderson). I thought he was smart with the ball. His reads, he’s got clean that up a little bit on offense but he’s dynamic.”
Lafayette got on the board first when Anderson hit Brandon Turnage for a 25-yard touchdown pass for the early 6-0 lead after a missed extra point. Turnage spent most of his time on defense but did spend a few plays on offense Friday night.
After a field goal attempted by South Panola resulted in a Lafayette penalty the Tigers punched the ball in from a yard out to go up 7-6. Outside of the one scoring drive, Lafayette’s defense stifled South Panola. The Tigers fumbled the ball twice with Lafayette’s Eric Jeffries and Samual Woodall recovering one each. Linebacker DeDe Miller punctuated the game with a sack in the final seconds.
“I thought we made more tackles this year than (last year’s jamboree against South Panola). We didn’t miss as many,” Fair said.
Making his Lafayette debut, Lance Stewart showcased the speed he will add to the Commodore backfield. The senior rushed for 79 yards and a touchdown. The score came off a 66-yard run that started with Stewart avoiding a tackle for a loss before breaking into the open field.
Chargers edge Charleston
While Lafayette was lighting up the scoreboard, across town Oxford was locked into a grind-it-out game with Charleston for two quarters. It was heading towards a scoreless tie in the Chargers’ jamboree but their final offensive drive of the game resulted in points.
J.J. Pegues rushed for two yards for the only score of the game with 50 seconds left, giving Oxford the 7-0 win. The scoring play was set up by a 51-yard reception by DeDe Pegues a play prior.
Before the touchdown Oxford’s offense sputtered for most of the two quarters, including a fumble at midfield killing a drive early in the first quarter.
“We put the ball on the ground and that’s pretty disappointing,” Oxford head coach Chris Cutcliffe said. “I thought our timing picked up (on the last drive). Our timing was a little off in the first quarter and that’s something that’s been really good, really consistent over the course of the summer and fall camp.”
Oxford’s defense picked up where they left off, keeping their opponent out of the end zone. Charleston had one decent look at finding the end zone on a drive late in the second quarter, but Oxford stuffed them on fourth and short inside the Chargers’ redzone.
“I thought we tackled well for the most part,” Cutcliffe said. “I had a missed tackled that led to a big play down (Charleston’s) sideline but for the most part we lined up well. Things you want to see in a jamboree.”
Oxford opens up the regular season on the road next week in Vicksburg against Warren Central in the ‘Red Carpet Bowl’ (5:30 p.m.) and Lafayette hosts Cleveland Central in their season opener (7 p.m.).