Commodores avoid upset, prevail over Columbus

Published 11:30 pm Friday, October 30, 2020

For the first time in over a month, the Lafayette Commodores were tested.

In a second half that featured four lead changes, they simply refused to lose. The Commodores were able to avoid the upset and knock off the Columbus Falcons 24-18 at William L. Buford Stadium. Lafayette continues to control their own destiny for their first Region 1-5A title.

“That’s a good football team with a lot of good athletes that have been on the wrong end of a lot of games this year,” Lafayette head coach Michael Fair said. “The way we move the ball late with Jay Reed, gave us a chance to win…nothing went as script tonight, but it’s the scoreboard that matters.”

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The Dores got on the board first on their second offensive drive of the game. Jay Reed capped off an 11-play, 56 yard drive with a touchdown run from four yards out. The score was 7-0 with 2:01 left in the first quarter. Early in the second quarter, the Falcons drove 82 yards downfield to Lafayette’s red zone, thanks to a big throw across the middle from Columbus’ Ethan Conner. The Falcons couldn’t finish the drive. Brendan Toles blocked a field goal attempt with 5:26 left in the first half.

The Falcons ended up finding points anyways a few plays later. Inside his own red zone, Tyrus Williams fumbled the football and tricked its way out of the back of the end zone for a safety. The Commodore lead was cut 7-2 with 3:28 left in the half and they had to kick the football to Columbus.

On 4th and 6, The Falcons faked a punt to get all the way to Lafayette’s 21-yard line with under a minute left. Columbus would end up finding the one-yard line, but was forced to kick a field goal to make the halftime score 7-5. Special teams doomed Lafayette once again to begin the third quarter, Columbus returned the opening kickoff 80 yards the other way for their first lead of the game, 11-7.

Following consecutive three-and-outs, the Commodores used a safety of their own to cut the Falcon lead to 11-9 midway through the third quarter. Lafayette took advantage of the free possession with a second Jay Reed touchdown run with 3:26 left in the third quarter, making it a 16-11 lead.

“Several times this year, we needed our defense to make a play,” Fair said. “That definitely gave us momentum.”

Brendan Toles would follow that up with an interception, but resulted in a three-and-out. Early in the fourth quarter, the Dores would come up empty with a missed field goal. Columbus used a pair of big plays to retake the lead with 5:44 left to play. Conner found a wide open receiver across the middle, giving Columbus an 18-16 lead. Lafayette proceeded to continue
giving Reed the football and it worked. Reed scored his third touchdown run of the game with 1:09 left to play. The defense did the rest.

The Commodores will travel to Lake Cormorant Gators next week to take on the Gators. Kickoff time is set for 7 p.m.

“They’re all big from now on,” Fair said. “Smartest thing for us to do is treat it like a playoff game. That’s what we’re going to do. I expect our best effort.”

By Jared Redding | EAGLE Contributor