Good enough to not play its best and still defeat a 12-win, seventh-ranked team in the state regardless of classification.
The Commodores may have failed to capitalize on several plays, but their athleticism and sheer determination overcame just that, as they walked off their turf Friday night with a 28-6 MHSAA Class 4A quarterfinals win over Louisville (12-2).
The defending state champion ’Dores (14-0) will play at Amory in next Friday’s state semifinals.
“You can look at it a lot of different ways,” Lafayette head coach Anthony Hart said when asked about his team’s sharpness against the Wildcats. “It’s hard to say that you played good or you played bad or whatever, but a lot of it has to do with your level of opponent. Pretty good level of opponent right there in Louisville.
“But again, this time of the year, all you want is a W. … All that is irrelevant. I’d loved to say that we played our ‘A’ game, but I don’t know.”
The quarterfinals win extended the ’Dores overall winning streak – dating back to last season – to 30 games.
Perfect at home
Senior quarterback Jeremy Liggins rushed 21 times for 121 yards and three touchdowns – all three of those scores came in the first half – as he and his classmates are undefeated at home in their varsity careers.
Liggins – who’s being recruited by Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Mississippi State and Ole Miss – had 14 carries for 112 yards in the opening half.
He leaped over a defender near the line of scrimmage on his first TD, a 10-yard run, on the first play of the second quarter.
“We knew they were going to try to cut our offensive linemen down, and so basically it was the only way out,” he said of his leap. “I just took a chance.”
The 6-foot-4, 270-pound quarterback later scored from 7 and 34 yards out as his Commodores erupted for 21 points in the second quarter after being held scoreless for the first 12 minutes.
Wyatt Roberts had a stellar first half for the Wildcats, completing 10 of 16 passes for 116 yards and a touchdown. His 35-yard TD pass to Desmond Goss, with 3:51 remaining before halftime, was nearly picked off, but it nonetheless pulled the Wildcats to within a single score, at 14-6.
After Liggins put Lafayette up 21-6, the Wildcats seemed like they were going to immediately answer with a burst up the middle by Cass Love. Unfortunately for Love, cornerback Brandon Mack didn’t give up on the play and tracked him down after gaining 54 yards on the ground.
Jamel Dennis, a starting linebacker for the ’Dores, was fortunate to score on a 37-yard run with 41 seconds to play in the contest.
Click here for photo gallery from C. Todd Sherman.