‘Be different’ Lafayette upended by West Point in Region 1-5A opener

Published 9:34 am Saturday, September 24, 2022

Lafayette head coach Michael Fair’s message to his team in the postgame huddle in the middle of the field at William L. Buford Stadium was a simple one.

The Commodores will not play like they did in Friday’s 59-35 loss to West Point if the two teams meet again down the road.

In what was both team’s region opener the Green Wave were the ones who managed to snag their second victory of the season while Lafayette is left scratching its collective heads. The Commodores have now lost four of its first five games to start the year.

“Our motivation should be to play those guys again in the playoffs and be a different team when we face them,” Fair said. “There were so many things, defensively, just stick out as I look back on tonight. It’s fixable. If they’re not fixable with technique they’re going to be fixable with personnel.”

The night started off as if it would be a track meet between the two Region 1-5A rivals.

After an opening punt by Lafayette (1-4, 0-1 1-5A) the next five combined possessions resulted in touchdowns with West Point (2-2, 1-0) emerging with a 21-14 lead when the dust settled.

The Commodores were not able to hold serve in the shootout as quarterback Charlie Fair threw an interception the following drive. West Point took advantage of the miscue and cashed it in for a touchdown and expanded its lead.

In the turnover battle the Green Wave scored 12 points off Lafayette turnovers.

The points off turnovers hurt the Commodores but it was the inability by its defense to put together any kind of rush defense. West Point did not have many struggles in moving the ball on the ground throughout the game with two rushing touchdowns of 62 and 51 yards in length.

“I thought we had a good plan coming in tonight,” Fair said of his defense. “It was all about execution. Nobody does what (West Point does). So we try to simulate at practice and try to do the best we can against them. But until you see them live it’s tough.”

Lafayette was without one of its top defensive players as Kylan Egerson did not suit up after suffering an injury.

Before West Point pulled away and broke the game open the Commodores offense looked to be up to the challenge of keeping pace.

Jay Reed was moving the ball well on the ground and quarterback Charlie Fair was having success through the air with a lot of bubble screen and short out routes.

In the running game Reed finished with three rushing touchdowns. Fair finished with two touchdown passes to Makyi Reed Jones.

The passing game looks to be opening up more with Fair finding rhythm with his receivers. It is a silver lining type of thing in a game such as Friday’s but can lead to success the rest of the season.

“I think we got some guys that can really strengthen up our perimeter,” Fair said. “I think (Fair’s) making some good decisions. A couple turnovers tonight but we’re getting there. That’s all I can say. I think we get better offensively each week.”

Lafayette travels to Saltillo next Friday to continue 1-5A play. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.