SPORTS EDITOR BLOG — Lafayette is headed back to Jackson for a second shot at winning a state title. Led by another dominating performance on defense, the Lafayette Commodores captured their second straight Class 4A North Half title Friday night with a 20-0 win over Noxubee County in Macon. (more…) (November 27, 2010)
The goal of returning to Jackson for the MHSAA Class 4A state title game is now just one win away from happening No. 1 Lafayette Commodores. LHS (14-0 overall) advanced to Friday’s 4A North Half title game against Noxubee County (13-1) with a convincing 35-0 win over previously unbeaten New Albany.
Consistency, coupled with superior talent, has been two of the biggest keys for the Commodores to return to this lofty position and coach Anthony Hart said he’s been pleased with how well his team has handled things the first 14 weeks of the season. (November 25, 2010, Page 8A)
Another dominant performance that showed the experience of the No. 1 Lafayette Commodores as much as it did their overall athletic ability was the backdrop of Friday’s 35-0 win over New Albany in the Class 4A playoffs.
LHS (14-0 overall) advanced to its second straight North Half title game by dismantling a Bulldog team that had won its first 13 games of the season. The Commodores, who will now play Noxubee County for the right to advance to Jackson for the MHSAA state championship, caused four turnovers in the win and used the mistakes to score three touchdowns on short fields. (November 22, 2010, Page 3B)
Lafayette’s drive to win an MHSAA Class 4A state championship this season will continue on the road Friday night at New Albany.
The third-round playoff game will be the Commodores’ first away from William L. Buford Stadium. A capacity crowd is expected to fill up the stands and the surrounding area, while the atmosphere should be as intense as any game LHS played in during last year’s playoff run. (November 18, 2010, Page 6)
The Lafayette Commodores showed just why they are one of the top teams in the state by responding to adversity and claiming a dominating 44-12 win over the Louisville Wildcats Friday night at William L. Buford Stadium in the second round of the MHSAA Class 4A playoffs.
Thanks to a couple of quick strikes, two scores within 30 seconds, the Wildcats put themselves back into the game late in the second quarter, pulling within two, 14-12, with 2:57 left in the first half. (November 15, 2010, Page 3B)
There are several words one can use to describe the Lafayette Commodores’ offense this season. From consistent to dynamic to prolific, the Commodores have racked up more than 3,000 yards on the ground and averaged over 40 points per game.
Running back Demarkus Dennis and quarterback Jeremy Liggins are two of the biggest reasons why the Commodores have excelled on offense, but the team’s offensive line, led by senior Austin Dennis, has also played exceptionally well in order for the skill players to succeed. (November 12, 2010, Page 6A)
The No. 1 Commodores (12-0 overall) host the Wildcats (8-4) Friday night at William L. Buford Stadium, a year after defeating them in the second round last season at home.
Louisville, the No. 2 seed out of Region 4-4A, has won seven of its last eight games, including defeating Amanda Elzy 32-8 last week. The Wildcats are coached by M.C. Miller, who was most recently at Noxubee County and helped build that program into one of the best in the state. (November 11, 2010, Page 6)
After a slow start in the first quarter, the Lafayette Commodores rattled off 49 unanswered points to claim a 49-7 victory over the North Pontotoc Vikings in the Class 4A, first-round playoff meeting at William L. Buford Stadium. (November 8, 2010, Page 6B)
For the Water Valley Blue Devils and Lafayette Commodores, the time to be clicking on all cylinders is now, as both teams begin their respective runs at Class 3A and Class 4A state titles.
The Oxford Chargers will also hit the gridiron tonight, concluding their regular season with a road game at Saltillo. (November 5, 2010, Page 6A)
The No. 1 team in Class 4A is who other 4A teams really, really want to beat in this year’s playoffs. Don’t get me wrong, teams that were fortunate enough to make the playoffs want to beat whoever they play, but if the team in front of them happens to be LHS, so much the better.
Lafayette is this year’s St. Stanislaus, the perfect team with all the star players that other teams hear so much about. In essence, the Commodores have gone from the team that nobody really knew much about to the team that everyone is gunning to knock off.
LHS coach Anthony Hart talked about what it means to be the top team in 4A entering the playoffs and how his team has to play because of that extra attention compared to last year.
“The only difference is sometimes you get nervous when you’re sitting there on top and everybody else is gunning for you. Last year we were down the ladder and we were gunning for everybody else. That just gives you a slightly different perspective on it,” Hart said. “You are what you are and where you are is where you are. You have to deal with it and play from that angle. We have to go out there and take everybody’s best shot every Friday like we have all year, play our game and just execute.”
Nothing will be easy
It sounds simple enough, but it won’t be. There won’t be anything easy about this year’s playoff run for the Commodores. That’s not saying the team can’t continue to reel off lopsided wins like they have in the regular season. LHS is as talented as any team in the state in any classification. But the difference, as Hart pointed out, is the extra attention, the extra pressure of winning because you’re supposed and where the Commodores lie in the bracket, something Hart said looked quality even though he tries not to look ahead too much.
“I feel like we’re in the toughest spot of the bracket we can be in. I feel like we’ve got the best No. 4 team in the North by far with North Pontotoc,” Hart said. “In North 4A, no matter where you are in the bracket, you’re going to run into somebody that’s quality pretty soon. North Pontotoc is a lot better than people give them credit for. As far as down the line, you’ve got a lot of good teams in 4A. I said that at the start of year.”
For Lafayette quarterback Jeremy Liggins and linebacker Kris Miller, the start of the playoffs mean competing against better teams rather than extra pressure to perform.
“I do feel like we’re the target because we’re No. 1 and because of last year, so everybody wants to beat us. I feel good about the team because I know we’re going to come out here and take it one game at a time. That’s why we have to come out and play hard each week,” Miller said. “The main thing is to stay focused. I know with the playoffs coming around, everybody is going to be 100 percent. It’s always good to play competition to see how good your talent is. You’re not getting any competition when you’re blowing folks out. Now we have to play a whole four quarter game. I want to see if I still got the breath.”
“In practice we try to come out with more momentum because we know it’s win or go home now,” Liggins said about the playoffs. “We’re not trying to go home. We’re trying to go back where we were last year but be on the other side of it. (Teams) are really looking at us because we went to state last year. We’ve just about go all our starters back on both sides of the ball and teams know we’re going to come out hard. We just have to do what we do.”
Impressive last two years
What the Commodores have done over the almost two full seasons is amazing. There have only been two losses over that time period and 25 wins. The football playoffs in this state, any state, are extremely tough.
It’s the ultimate test for football players because of the emotion involved each week. We all felt that emotion last year and it will be even more amplified this run.
I expect LHS to run the table in the North and then capture a state title in Jackson early next month. I think this team is too focused not to win it all. They know people are gunning for them, they hear people around town talk about how talented they are and they still perform. They haven’t gotten a big head, and I don’t think they will now with the prize so close. It should be an interesting ride these next five weeks, and one I’m looking forward to seeing how things really shape out. (November 5, 2010, Page 7A)