By NEMS Daily Journal
SHREVEPORT, La. – On the verge of losing their first game since the 2009 MHSAA Class 4A state title game, the Lafayette regrouped on Saturday afternoon to outscore Louisiana power Evangel Christian Academy in the second half.
The end result was a 35-34 victory over the 13-time Louisiana state champion and the Commodores’ 20th consecutive victory since their 35-16 defeat at the hands of St. Stanislaus in the ’09 championship game.
Although, the Commodores – the first team in MHSAA’s history to post a 16-0 season thanks to last year’s state title run – did have to
survive an Evangel Christian touchdown pass with 20 seconds left, the ensuing extra-point attempt and the onside kick before improving to 4-0 this season.
Clinging to a 35-28 lead, the Commodores had forced the Eagles into a fourth-and-goal situation from the 9-yard line after dodging an initial bullet when a TD pass on the drive was called back due to holding.
Eagles quarterback Trey Taylor – who actually started off the game as a receiver/running back and had two TD receptions and a scoring run in the first half – then found Trent Taylor for a touchdown strike.
The Eagles (0-2), however, missed the point-after kick, pushing it to the left, and the ’Dores would recover the onside kick, sealing the victory at the first “Battle on the Border” high school football showcase to be played at Independence Stadium, the home of college football’s Independence Bowl.
“That was a good measuring stick for us right there,” Commodores coach Anthony Hart told the Oxford Eagle. “We gave up some plays. They had some scores they should not have had because we dropped interceptions; we roughed the punter; we helped them in the first half.
“But the second half, the defense was lights out. We took this game because we wanted to step it up a level. We wanted to play a school like Evangel Christian.
“It doesn’t change us. We’re the same old guys, but other people may see us a little differently.”
Saturday’s game was the closest margin of victory for the ’Dores since their 21-14 Crosstown Classic victory over rival Oxford last September.
Commodores senior quarterback Jeremy Liggins scored two touchdowns on the ground (runs of 1 and 18 yards) and hooked up with Jeremiah Jones for a 28-yard touchdown pass to tie the game at 28-all with 8:59 remaining.
Liggins finished with a season-high 126 rushing yards on 20 carries.
He also threw for 80 yards.
Senior running back Demarkous Dennis scored the eventual game-winner on a 13-yard run with 4:13 left on the clock.
Trailing 28-14 at halftime, D.K. Buford began the second-half comeback for the ’Dores, scoring on a 12-yard run with 7:28 to go in the third.
Colby Terrell had a blocked punt for the Daily Journal’s top-ranked large school, which will travel to Shannon on Friday to play the fifth-ranked Red Raiders (2-2).