The team that won the school’s first state football title got together one more time as a group to celebrate the lofty accomplishments of 2010 with a ring ceremony in the LHS gym. (more…) (April 11, 2011, Page 4B)
Teams that win championships always have great players leading the way. In the case of the Lafayette Commodores, there were a handful of players that stood out above the rest on a team that was filled from top to bottom with solid high school athletes. (more…) (December 16, 2010, Page 1B)
Lafayette’s Jeremy Liggins and Demarkus Dennis highlighted the postseason awards and postseason teams that were selected recently in Class 4A.
Liggins, a junior, was named Player of the Year for the Region 2-4A team and the quarterback on the first team of the Mississippi Association of Coaches Class 4A team.
Dennis, also a junior, was named Offensive Player of the Year on the Region 2-4A team and first team running back on the MAC team. (December 8, 2010, Page 9)
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)
If there is a play that needs to be made by the Lafayette defense, it’s a safe bet that No. 9, middle linebacker Kris Miller will not only have set it up, but made the stop as well.
On a defense with a bevy of talented playmakers, Miller is arguably the most important defender on the field.
Every single call that the defense gets from coordinator Eric Robertson comes through Miller. If the team gets lined up properly and a stop is made, it’s because Miller had everyone in the right position. Then, if the Commodores are playing a team like Itawamba AHS last week, Miller is cleaning everything up with a bunch of tackles and big plays. (September 16, 2010, Page 6)
With the Oxford Chargers marching down the field late in the fourth quarter, Tyson broke around the Oxford offensive line and was able to punch the ball away from Chargers quarterback Guy Cameron Billups.
Fellow Commodore Kris Miller fell on the ball and Lafayette’s 21-14 victory was secured. (September 7, 2010, Page 6)
The annual matchup between Lafayette and Oxford is called the Crosstown Classic for a reason and the latest installment in the series played Friday night at Oxford’s Bobby Holcomb Field definitely lived up to the moniker.
In a game that is usually decided by just one play, it was Lafayette junior defensive end Keeyon Tyson that produced the single-biggest play in a 21-14 win for the No. 1 Commodores. Just a little over a minute after the Commodores (3-0 overall) scored the game-winning touchdown on a 12-yard run by Demarkus Dennis at the 2:13 mark of the fourth quarter, Tyson was able to thwart a potential game-tying scoring drive for the Chargers (2-1) by slapping the ball away from quarterback Guy Cameron Billups at the LHS 13-yard line. (September 6, 2010, Page 1B)
SPORTS EDITOR BLOG — Friday night’s Crosstown Classic matchup between the Lafayette Commodores and Oxford Chargers had a little bit of everything. (more…) (September 4, 2010)
Whether it was C.C. or Markie Dukes swatting throws away, Dominique Price stepping up on a goalline stand or Jermaine “Slim” Pegues causing havoc in the middle of the line, the ‘Dores had no shortage of playmakers.
While Lafayette has five returners on defense this year, the coaching staff is hoping the ‘Dores have just the right blend of youth and experience. (July 29, 2010, Page 7)