Lafayette helmet

MAYO, Fla. — Before a post-game fireworks display closed out homecoming, Lafayette High’s offense exploded in the second quarter to dispatch rival Bell.

The Hornets used three second-quarter scores to pull away from the Bulldogs for a 34-6 win Friday at Dale Walker Field.

The Hornets, who improved to (8-1), play in Trenton next week to wrap up the regular season.

The Bulldogs (2-7) threatened to score first with a first-and-goal at the LHS 9-yard line, aided by a Hornet pass interference call in the end zone. But Isaiah Cook sacked quarterback Caden Hastings for a 10-yard loss. A delay of game penalty cost Bell another five yards and Hastings was pressured into an incomplete pass on fourth down.

Hastings was one for seven in passing with 27 yards and an interception.

The Hornets took possession at their 16-yard line and quarterback Jaxson Beach found Nic’kel Freeman for 11 yards and ran for 15 yards on the next play. On second-and-10, Mario Thomas ran for 19 yards to the Bell 41. Beach added a 15-yard run before finding Freeman for a 20-yard TD pass and a 6-0 lead.

Beach completed 9 of 19 passes for 137 yards. He had two TD passes, one interception and ran for 114 with two TDs.

“We threw the ball well, we caught the ball well,” Beach said of the passing attack. “The first-team offense was pulled after the end of the third quarter. We got some new guys in and got them the ball.

“Adam Perry got hurt (out for the season). Mainly Craig Lamb, No. 5, we’re trying to get him some experience, as many catches as we could to get him ready for playoffs. Every time he catches the ball he’s learning his routes better. He started the game tonight and he’ll be first string.”

Lamb caught two passes for 15 yards.

On the next possession, the Hornets got the ball back at the Bell 32 early in the second quarter after Bell fumbled a punt snap.

Beach escaped out of the backfield for 10 yards and fullback Joe Perry gained 19 yards on an off-tackle run and scored from two yards out on the next play to put the Hornets up 13-0 with 9:09 until halftime.

Perry ran four times for 40 yards and one TD. Perry was converted to center from fullback after joining varsity football.

“It felt great, I loved it,” he said of the switch up to fullback. “First game running the ball this season.”

LHS coach Mark Beach added about Perry continuing at fullback: “He’s a great athlete, who knows where that’s going to go.”

After Carter Perry recovered an onside kick at Bell’s 44, it took the Hornets three plays to score again. Beach completed two passes; one to Garrison Beach and one to Lamb before running it in from 30 yards to make it 20-0.

Lafayette struck quickly again with Beach running for 40 yards before a Bell penalty in the end zone set up a 3-yard scoring run from Beach for a 27-0 lead, which capped the first-half scoring.

The Hornets’ do-everything quarterback was crowned homecoming king at halftime.

“It’s a great experience. I enjoy being involved in school,” Beach said. “I got to be in the parade this morning as a representative, next year I get to ride in the parade as king.”

After stopping Bell to open the second half, the Hornets came out passing with Beach hitting Freeman for 32 yards and after a 13-yard Perry run, he found younger brother Garrison Beach for a 20-yard touchdown for the final score for Lafayette.

The Bulldogs finally patched together a drive in the fourth quarter and scored on an 8-yard run. Bell’s attack mostly featured running back Jonathon Neudert, who ran 21 times for 85 very-tough yards. Hastings ran 13 times for 41 yards.

“It was a tough game, anytime you have a team like Mayo with their great offense and their defense came to play today and made it very difficult for us,” Bulldog coach Joey Whittington said. “They outplayed us tonight.”

After the game, homecoming night ended with a barrage of fireworks.

“It was a nice touch, the reason we used them was because fourth of July fireworks got rained out so they allowed us to use those for Homecoming,” Mark Beach said.

Jeff Shourds is a sports writer for the Suwannee Democrat, Jasper News and Mayo Free Press.

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