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Lafayette gets late fireworks to come from behind to beat Grenada

GRENADA – In a football game dominated by both teams’ rushing attacks, Lafayette’s ability to hit on two big passes in a two-minute situation was the deciding factor on Friday night.

Lafayette needed a late, come-from-behind touchdown drive on the road in Grenada to pick up their first divisional win of the year. Scoring with 1:10 remaining to take the lead, the Commodores beat Grenada 24-21.

“I told them we had them right where we want them,” Lafayette head coach Michael Fair said. “I think the reason we’re so good in pressure situations is because there’s never any panic on the sideline… when bad things happen, we just say ‘let’s strap up a little tighter and make a play.’ That was evident tonight.”

Playing without starting quarterback Tyrus Williams, Lafayette (4-2, 1-1 Region 1-5A) turned to even more of a ground-and-pound approach than typical.

It was a very deliberate game plan for the Commodores. The team ran the ball offensively and they ran the ball some more. They picked up a handful of big chunk plays on the ground, but for the most part the game was defined by long, deliberate Commodore drives… right up until the moment they needed a quick one.

After Lafayette went up 10-0 to start the game, Grenada (4-2, 1-1) came back with one long touchdown drive to end the first half down just 10-7. The Chargers came out in the second half, looking impressive with a long, 80-yard touchdown drive, taking a four-point lead over Lafayette in the process.

Again, the teams traded fourth quarter touchdowns, with Grenada scoring the go-ahead score with 2:32 to play.

Down 17-21 on the road, Lafayette needed answers. And they didn’t have the time for their standard, methodical long drives. They still ran the ball, but picked up two critical big passing plays, both to senior Tabias Brown, to set up Randy Anderson’s six-yard rush to go up 24-21. Grenada got one last drive, but ran out of time around midfield. Anderson’s score with 1:10 to play was the real end.

“I was telling the offensive line, I got this. We’re all in this together. Put it in my hands and we’re going to score,” Anderson said. “Coaches put us in position to do those things. What we do best is what we were going to do and we went out there and won the game.”

Thrust into a new role as quarterback was actually like going back to an old role – playing quarterback isn’t exactly a position with which Anderson is unfamiliar.

Despite spending the majority of 2019 as a receiver and running back, as well as playing some safety, he was the team’s starting quarterback in 2018. Even before he was thrust back in the position, he would take the occasional quarterback snap during games anyways. When he needed to return to the position full-time, it was an easy transition.

“It feels great (playing quarterback),” Anderson said. “I’m just helping my team out. Wherever coach puts me, I’m just going to help my team out and do what I have to do.”

Tonight, Anderson rushed for 146 yards and two scores, including the go-ahead late. He was only 3 for 7 passing for 58 yards, but was 2 for 2 late with the game on the line.

Williams missed the game dealing with a concussion suffered late against West Point. Coach Fair said his sophomore quarterback is feeling much better, but they’re going to take it cautiously before putting him back the field.

Lafayette returns home next Friday to take on Center Hill.