The Lafayette Commodores (13-0 overall) continued their winning ways with a 44-12 victory over the Louisville Wildcats Friday night at William L. Buford Stadium in the second round of the MHSAA Class 4A playoffs. The backfield duo of Jeremy Liggins and Demarkus Dennis led the LHS offense on the night, both rushing for over 100 yards each. Lafayette now must turn their attention to New Albany and their high-powered offense. The Bulldogs (13-0) defeated Koscuisko 28-0 Friday night to earn the right to host LHS for third-round action in the battle of the unbeatens. (November 12, 2010)
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)
A super talented Lafayette Commodore football team will look to take its next steps to winning a Class 4A state championship Friday night with a first-round playoff game against North Pontotoc at William L. Buford Stadium.
From LHS coach Anthony Hart’s perspective, the start of the playoffs has made his already focused team even more prepared for the task of winning five more games which would give them the school’s first state title. (November 4, 2010, Page 6)
Chris Conard has all the attributes of a star football player. He easily passes the eye test and looks good on paper. He has the skill set that not only makes him stand out, but has allowed the current junior to play on Water Valley’s varsity squad since he was in eighth grade.
Last Friday, Conard had a career-game in Water Valley’s 20-10 win in the season finale at Mooreville, grabbing three interceptions while also making nine tackles and breaking up five passes.
It’s because of that stellar performance that Conard was named the EAGLE’s Final Player of the Week for the 2010 season. (November 2, 2010, Page 9)
Starting in place of junior quarterback Jeremy Liggins, who was dressed but held out of the game to rest a sore right ankle, Mack did a little bit of everything to lead the Commodores to a 37-7 victory over the Lewisburg Patriots at William L. Buford Stadium.
Against the Patriots, Mack completed 2 of 6 passes for 64 yards and a touchdown, rushed for 64 yards and two scores, and also intercepted a pass from Lewisburg quarterback Colby Sappington inside Lafayette’s 10-yard line. (October 29, 2010, Page 6A)
The Lafayette Commodores rallied past the Rosa Fort Lions Friday night after a rather sluggish start to claim a 42-7 victory. The Commodores clinched first place in Region 2-4A with the important win over the Lions. (October 25, 2010, Page 4B)
The Lafayette Commodores (10-0, 5-0) stormed past the Rosa Fort Lions (7-3, 3-3) 42-7 on Friday night. With the win, the Commodores won Region 2-4A. (more…) (October 23, 2010)
Lafayette’s Anfernee Gooch has been overshadowed for much of the 2010 season by workhorses Jeremy Liggins and Demarkus Dennis.
That may have played a factor in Gooch’s breakout performance on Friday that earned him his second EAGLE Player of the Week honor.
Against the Millington Central Trojans, Gooch caught four passes and converted each into touchdown scores of 9, 55, 59 and 45 yards. (October 19, 2010, Page 8)