Class 4A: <b>Blazing offense meets lights-out defense</b>

JACKSON – Both Lafayette County and St. Stanislaus are in for their biggest battles of 2009.
When the two teams take to Jackson’s Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium on Saturday afternoon, it will be Lafayette trying to contain the Rock-a-chaws’ explosive offense and the Rock-a-chaws vying to score on a lights-out Commodores’ defense.
St. Stanislaus head coach Forrest Williams told Anthony Hart, Lafayette County’s head coach, that he expected whichever team from the North that advanced to the state title game to be battle-tested.
From looking at the Commodores’ road to Jackson, he is most certainly right. Lafayette won at Shannon in the quarterfinals and then at Itawamba AHS in the semifinals. Both of those teams at one time were ranked atop the Daily Journal’s large schools’ rankings.
In defeating Shannon 24-13, the Commodores held Keon McGaughy, one of the best running backs in the state, to a season-low 31 yards. They also recorded three sacks and two interceptions.
The Commodores held Itawamba, which had been averaging more than 29 points per game, to just six points in an impressive 31-6 victory.
“They have a defense that really runs to the ball,” Williams said. “They have some great athletes over there that we’re going to have to contend with.
“Ultimately – and I say this all the time – good athletes make great coaches. We have our work cut out for us.”
So does Lafayette. The Commodores will face an offense that is 172 yards shy of 7,000 total yards for the season. The Rock-a-chaws are averaging 487.7 per game (6,828 total).
In comparison to a Lafayette team that is scoring close to 33 points a contest, the Rock-a-chaws have outgained the Commodores by 1,637 yards this season. (Lafayette has 5,191 yards of total offense.)
“We’re a spread-gun (offense),” Williams said. “We’re about 60 percent pass, 40 percent run.”

The Favre factor
Rock-a-chaws quarterback Dylan Favre has accounted for 6,197 yards of his team’s total offense. The senior has completed 319 of 498 pass attempts (64.1 completion percentage) for 5,090 yards and 60 TDs. He’s been picked off 15 times.
The nephew of NFL QB Brett Favre has totaled 1,107 yards rushing on 152 carries. He’s scored 16 times on the ground.
“The thing that we have to do the most is to control the line of scrimmage and get pressure on him so that he will throw a couple of bad passes to give our secondary a chance to grab a couple of those balls out of the air,” said Lafayette defensive end Jeremy Williams, who has nine sacks on the year.
The Commodores did exactly that to heavily-recruited Itawamba AHS quarterback Maikhail Miller last week: sacking him twice and forcing three interceptions.
“We probably didn’t see a team much like them in the regular season,” said Williams, who would compare the very athletic Lafayette team to Quitman, his team’s first-round playoff opponent.
“They’ve (Quitman) got a great run of athletes.”

Contact John Wilbert at 678-1572 or

John Wilbert/NEMS Daily Journal

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