CHIEFLAND — Three times, Lafayette High fell behind host Chiefland by three scores Friday night.
Three times, the Hornets kept battling back and finally rallied for a 54-53 comeback thriller at C. Doyle McCall Field at Wayne Pridgeon Stadium.
“We just kept fighting,” Lafayette coach Mark Beach said. “The kids have bought in to all the work we’ve done and they were talking about it on the sidelines.
“And then when they started chipping away, and you could see them starting to crack a little bit, we just kept going. We never lost hope and we found a way to get a great win.”
The Indians, who fell to 0-3, caught the Hornets off guard with an under-center veer option attack.
That surprise, coupled with Lafayette turnovers early, helped Chiefland jump out to a 27-7 lead in the first quarter.
The Indians finished with 445 yards and six touchdowns on 50 rushing attempts. Jarrett Jerrels led Chiefland with 158 yards and four touchdowns on 13 carries. Quarterback Ty Corbin scored one TD rushing while also completing 5 of 9 passes for 105 yards and two touchdowns — 40 yards to AJ Lee and 24 yards to Zach Hall.
But Beach said LHS defensive coordinator Tim Hanson made some major adjustments to help a young Hornet defense improve. The Indians scored twice in both the second and third quarters before Lafayette shut them out late. After LHS pulled with one score in both the first and second quarters, Chiefland extended the lead to 47-27 to open the second half and later led 53-33 before the Hornets scored the game’s final 21 points.
The Hornets’ high-octane offense helped too, Beach admitted, with LHS receiving big contributions from Nic’Kel Freeman, Adam Perry, Nathan Pearson and Mark Crum at receiver. Perry hauled in double-digit catches for the second straight game, finishing with 10 receptions for 154 yards and two touchdowns, while Freeman had six receptions for 87 yards and one score. Two-time All-State quarterback Jaxson Beach added in some big runs late, coach Beach said, also crediting the offensive line for a great job in providing protection.
Beach finished with 129 yards and four touchdowns on 15 carries while also completing 20 of 33 passes for 285 yards and the three scores. Montae Gillyard also had one rushing touchdown.
“I knew we could score,” he said. “The race car was a little slow at first, but we got it rolling.”