MAYO, Fla. — For most of Friday’s Kickoff Classic at Dale Walker Field, Lafayette’s up-tempo offense was going nowhere fast.
But after falling behind visiting Williston by three scores, the Hornets found their gear and rallied before falling 28-18 in the one half of varsity action.
“It’s like I told our guys, it’s a four-quarter game,” Lafayette coach Mark Beach said. “It wasn’t what we wanted but we figured some things out.”
After the Red Devils scored their fourth touchdown on five drives to go up 28-6 with 5:22 left in the half on a 42-yard touchdown pass from Marland Williams to Hunter Bullock — Williston’s lone pass — the Hornets stung right back.
After Jaxson Beach hit Adam Perry for 22 yards, Mario Thomas raced 64 yards to pull the Hornets within 28-12, spinning out of a tackle at midfield.
Lafayette’s defense followed by forcing Williston’s lone punt of the scrimmage with a three-and-out.
Jaxson Beach, Lafayette’s two-time All-State quarterback, then put on a show. After a 19-yard scamper to start the drive, Beach hit Perry for 22 yards down the middle of the field on fourth-and-17 to keep the drive alive.
He then raced 15 yards down to the Williston 3, hurdling a defender in the process. He scored on the next play, his second rushing TD of the night following a 24-yarder in the first quarter. He finished with 66 yards on 10 carries while completing 10 of 19 passes for 118 yards. Perry hauled in five passes for 56 yards, while Nic’Kel Freeman had 54 yards on three catches.
“We’re fine, we’re fine,” Mark Beach said.
Sandwiched around that Beach TD run were a pair of long Williston scores. On just the Devils’ second play, Rhett Munden raced 57 yards to put Williston up 8-0 with a two-point run. Three plays after Beach’s score, Munden scored from 60 yards out for a 14-6 lead with 6:45 left in the first.
The senior’s 157 yards on eight carries led Williston’s attack, which churned out 276 yards on 27 carries.
In the JV half, Lafayette won 22-16.
Lafayette hosts Hamilton County on Friday in the season opener. Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m.