The Lafayette Commodores defense looked to be in mid-season form while the offense did just enough to defeat the Pontotoc Warriors 14-0 in the jamboree game tonight.On defense, sophomore Brandon Mack pulled down the game’s lone interception after starting at cornerback and the ‘Dores’ defense as a whole limited the Warriors to 15 total yards of offense. Leading the pass rush was senior defensive end Demetri McIntosh, the vocal leader of the defense, and 6-foot, 343-pound nose tackle D.Q. Reynolds.
Defensive coordinator Eric Robertson has commented to me multiple times during this preseason that Reynolds, a junior, will do just fine replacing 305-pound Slim Pegues, who has taken his game to Northwest Mississippi Community College.
Offensively, the usual suspects stood out.
On the first play from scrimmage, junior quarterback Jeremy Liggins connected with senior receiver Anfernee Gooch for a 70-yard touchdown. Gooch, who was lined up on the left side, was wide open over the middle on a slant route and outran the Warriors’ defense to the end zone.
With 3:20 remaining in the first quarter, junior running back Demarkus Dennis capped off an eight-play, 49-yard drive with a 6-yard touchdown run, going untouched into the end zone.
Junior Tyler Jackson converted both extra points and barely missed a 42-yard field goal attempt where the ball dipped just under the crossbar.
In the junior varsity game, Lafayette defeated Pontotoc 6-0, with freshman running back D.K. Buford scoring the game’s only touchdown.
Lafayette will officially open its season next Friday, traveling to Cleveland.
NEWS AND NOTES: Overall, I thought Lafayette played about as expected in its first game against a team not wearing red, white and gold. On offense, the Commodores could have had a few more scores if it were not for a handful of drops. Lafayette attempted to pass more than it normally did last season, and while its receivers were open — a sign the plays were working at least — several times balls bounced off receiver’s hands and to the ground.
Last year the ‘Dores couldn’t keep Dennis off the field. Time and time again he’d enter the game to spell senior Sam Booker and rip off 9-yard gains. This year, Buford (right) could be the change-of-pace back Lafayette will use to complement Dennis. Against Pontotoc, Buford took one handoff late in the second half and burst around the left side of the line and down the sideline for a 19-yard gain. Last season he wowed me by dominating 8th grade games. This season I wouldn’t be shocked if he did the same on the varsity squad.
Mack is another kid the coaches seem to like and he’ll be counted on to play both ways.
Defensively, Lafayette was gooood. The ‘Dores (Doomsday Dores?) got after Pontotoc and took advantage of the fact both of Pontotoc’s starting offensive tackles were missing due to injury.
It seemed every time I looked up McIntosh, Keeyon Tyson or one of the linebackers were either bringing down PHS’ quarterback or hitting the running backs for a loss. By my count, McIntosh, Alex Michaels, Reynolds and Cortez Coleman each had one sack in the game, which lasted two quarters.
With regards to special teams, Jackson gets difficult task of replacing EAGLE All-Area punter Clay Russell.
After the game Jackson expressed that he’s much more comfortable kicking, a job he excelled at last season, than punting. In short, he’s just looking to catch the snap and flip the field to the best of his ability. With kicking, he’s able to use his soccer background and said that while the balls are obviously different, he can use the same mechanics he uses on the ‘Dores soccer team to kick field goals and extra points for the football squad.
Former Lafayette standout QB and Ole Miss signee Montez Phillips was in attendance, cheering on younger brother Ontario Phillips. Last season, the older Phillips caught four passes for 54 yards for the Northwest Mississippi Community College Rangers.
Starters for Lafayette included:
Liggins 3-for-11, 85 yards, TD
Dennis 7 rushes for 53 yard, TD
Gooch 3 rushes for 0 yards
Liggins 7 rushes for 19 yards
D.K. Buford 1 rush for 19 yards
Jackson converted two PATs, missed a 42-yard field goal.
As a team, the Warriors were 3-for-10 passing for 35 yards and one interception. Warriors also lost 20 yards rushing as a team.