North-bound Lafayette peaking at the right time

Football stockBy Brandon Speck

Daily Journal

Lafayette is just piling on the gravy for Thanksgiving. Every Commodores’ win is just gravy on top of a season that no one expected to still be going this holiday weekend.

“We finally started getting people healthy and our kids are playing better now. That’s what we wanted to be doing, playing good this time of year,” Lafayette coach Eric Robertson said.

Lafayette (10-5) goes to Cleveland (9-5) on Friday for the MHSAA Class 4A North championship, the winner advancing to the state championship.

Lafayette won back-to-back Class 4A titles in 2010-11 – undefeated – and went to the championship game in 2009. This hasn’t been that kind of dominant team, but has worked its way into peak form at the right time, something Robertson says was a goal.

“We had some kids that were inexperienced and we knew if we would improve and stay healthy, we had a chance,” he said.

Tough schedule

The improvement is in part a testament to a schedule that includes two teams in North finals Friday, one in Tennessee’s championship. In-state, Tupelo is a 6A North finalist, Oxford in 5A. Memphis University School is in a Tennessee title game, the only team to beat South Panola this season.

Cleveland runs and runs and runs. Three backs have at least 750 yards, led by junior Anadontie Maxie’s 1,225 and 11 touchdowns. Junior Earnest Butler has scored 12 of the team’s 39 rushing touchdowns.

Lafayette is a running team, too. Sophomore Tyrell Price has emerged to run for 1,150 yards and five touchdowns on 199 carries. Ole Miss commit DK Buford has 15 rushing touchdowns and is six yards away from 1,000. The Dores have won seven in a row, the last two playoff games thanks to defense. Lafayette beat Greenwood 7-0 and Noxubee County 9-0. It also beat New Albany 44-7 and Senatobia 30-7 in mid-October.

“You like those kind of games,” Robertson said. “Our defense really played great the last two weeks.”

brandon.speck@journalinc.com