By Jay Tidwell/Special to the Journal
OXFORD – After returning a fumble for a touchdown and catching a pass for another to help Lafayette to a 48-7 win against Pontotoc, DeBrico Burgess shared a bit of the Commodores’ secret to success.
They don’t aim to just out-play their opponents. They want to out-prepare them.
“Everybody in Mississippi is good, but we just study and practice hard,” explained Burgess, a junior free safety and wide receiver who helped lift Lafayette to its 22nd straight win. “We watch a lot of film and study it, and we know our opponent real well.”
Lafayette, the No. 1 team in the Daily Journal’s area large-school rankings and the top-ranked team for all classifications statewide, was unmistakably ready for Pontotoc.
Defending its home turf for only the second time since winning the 2010 Class 4A state title, Lafayette (6-0) cruised to a 42-0 halftime advantage.
Jeremy Liggins ran for two touchdowns and passed for another, and Demarkus Dennis and Jamel Dennis each ran for TDs in the first half.
Liggins’ first scoring run – a 20-yarder with 9:44 showing in the first quarter – came after a Pontotoc turnover on its third play from scrimmage.
On Pontotoc’s next possession, Burgess scooped up a fumble and raced 60 yards down the left sideline for a 14-0 cushion with 7:11 left in the opening frame.
The early lead is what Lafayette coach Anthony Hart had hoped for.
“I thought our kids did good in all phases,” said Hart, whose team rolled up 457 yards in total offense. “I wanted to start fast, and we started fast, and then we could let up a little at the end. That’s what you want.”
Warriors QB injured
Pontotoc (4-2) added a late score on an 11-yard pass from quarterback Trei Freeman to Shaquille Crayton with 6:39 remaining in the match. Freeman replaced starter Rashad Dixon after he left with an injury in the first quarter.
“They’re the No. 1 team in the state for a reason,” said Pontotoc coach Ken Byars. “They’re huge. They’re fast. They’ve got good players at every position. They’re not weak anywhere. They can take a busted play and go anywhere with it, and it shows.”