Lafayette defense delivers again in win over Columbus

Published 9:58 am Saturday, October 9, 2021

By Jared Redding

COLUMBUS — For the second week in a row, the Lafayette Commodores ran into a pass heavy, spread offense and the defense delivered a win.

It wasn’t as easy as last Friday, but the Commodores (5-2, 2-1 Region 1-5A) came away with a 21-12 region win over the Columbus Falcons thanks to several big defensive stops down the stretch and their offense doing just enough to provide breathing room throughout the night.

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“(Defense) played well again. I can’t say enough about them,” LHS head coach Michael Fair said. “We’ve said since day one that if we have a chance to win the game, our defense is on the field and we have a lead in the fourth quarter, we feel great about it. They rose to the occasion … We showed some things I think we can build upon.”

Things didn’t get off to a good start for the Commodores as a Charlie Fair fumble on their first offensive possession gave Columbus the football at their own 42-yard line. However, on the very next play, Kylan Egerson read a slant route, picked off the football and took it the other way for six. Following a two-point attempt by Reed, Lafayette had an early 8-0 lead with 8:55 left in the opening quarter. That was the first of many big plays the junior made throughout the night.

“We know what (Egerson) is capable of,” Michael Fair said. “We’ve moved him around so much. He’s so versatile. It was great to see him make plays tonight.”

Both defenses forced a series of punts before the Falcons had their first legitimate shot to score. A series of quick, short passes would eventually set up a 29-yard field goal for Columbus, but the kick barely missed wide right early in the second quarter. Two Lafayette drives later, Reed carried his team down field and capped off a time-consuming drive with a direct snap, six-yard touchdown run.

At that point, Lafayette had a 15-0 lead with 1:41 left in the first half. A late opportunity for Columbus to score was thwarted with an interception by Slayden Mooneyham, keeping the two touchdown Lafayette lead going into the locker room.

The Falcons received the second half kickoff and made their way to the Lafayette 32-yard line before a fourth down pass break up by Jeremiah Tanner stopped them in their tracks. Shortly after, a 51-yard gallop by Reed gave Lafayette a chance to extend their lead in Columbus territory. On 4th-and-4 in the red zone, Charlie Fair lobbed the ball up to Kylen Vaughn, who caught the ball in double coverage for a 17-yard touchdown pass. With 5:32 left in the third quarter, Lafayette had a bigger, 21-0 lead following a failed PAT.

On the ensuing kickoff, the Falcons finally broke through with a 78-yard touchdown runback to cut into the deficit. DJ Burgess snuffed out the two-point conversion, but Lafayette’s lead was trimmed down to 21-6.

Early in the fourth quarter, the Falcons engineered a time consuming drive that would ultimately go up in smoke following a fourth down stop by DJ Burnett with 7:02 left.

Columbus would, however, get more opportunities with a few strong defensive series. Their drive would again end in the red zone with an Egerson pass break up, 2:59 left to play. The Falcons would finally find the end zone via offense with six seconds left, but it was too late as the Commodores came away with another region win.

Lafayette will return to William L. Buford Stadium next Friday, October 15 to continue region play against the New Hope Trojans. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.