Generals have won nine straight, feature two UK commits
For many observers — especially those in Louisville — Lafayette High School’s chances of winning Saturday’s Class 6-A football championship game can be summed up in one score – 70-14.
That was the final result of the whipping Trinity handed Lafayette on Sept. 4. And though the Generals obviously have regrouped during their current nine-game winning streak, they’re preparing to face a Male squad that defeated Trinity twice this year.
It’s a hot topic this week for fans of the transitive property, but Male coach Chris Wolfe isn’t one of them.
“I always tell people that if you’re playing Trinity for the first time, you have no chance,” Wolfe said. “It took us a while to figure them out. People just need to throw that Lafayette-Trinity game out of the way. They have found themselves in the playoffs.”
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Lafayette (12-2) — No. 9 in the state in The Courier-Journal’s Litkenhous Ratings — will find out how far it’s come when it faces No. 1 Male (14-0) at 6 p.m. EST Saturday at Houchens Industries/L.T. Smith Stadium in Bowling Green, Ky.
The Generals are in a state final for the first time since 1985, when they fell to Trinity 28-7 in the Class 4-A championship game. Lafayette coach Eric Shaw knows his team is considered an underdog by many and said his players are using that as motivation.
“They’re playing with a chip on their shoulder,” Shaw said. “They’re not getting a lot of respect, and that really doesn’t matter. They just want to prove to themselves how good they can be from an individual standpoint and a team standpoint. They’ve done a tremendous job so far, and it’s been an amazing ride. They’re not going to quit.”
Shaw said losses to Trinity and Scott County (65-46 on Sept. 18) helped his team grow and have paid off during the playoffs. After avenging the loss to No. 3 Scott County in a regional final, 36-30, the Generals knocked off No. 4 Simon Kenton 42-28 last week to reach the championship game.
“They stubbed their toes against Trinity and against Scott County, but they kept on moving,” Shaw said. “Our defense has gotten better, and our overall preparation has gotten better. The kids have showed a willingness to do what it takes to be good.”
And there’s no argument that Lafayette has plenty of talent, starting with a pair of big-time linemen.
Left tackle Landon Young (6 feet 7, 298 pounds) has committed to the University of Kentucky and is the state’s No. 1 college recruit in the Class of 2016, according to Rivals.com. Junior right tackle Jedrick Wills (6-4, 316) is rated a five-star recruit by Rivals.com and has scholarship offers from Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisville, Ohio State, Tennessee, Western Kentucky and several others.
“This will be the first time we’re smaller than the other team,” Wolfe said, “and we have a big defensive line.”
The Generals have several playmakers as well. Junior Walker Wood, a UK commit, is a dual-threat quarterback who has passed for 2,360 yards and 20 touchdowns and rushed for 1,505 yards and 21 scores. Senior Mason Alstatt (Wofford commit) has rushed for 1,572 yards and 17 touchdowns and returned two kickoffs for scores — 97 and 99 yards — against Trinity.
Junior Quinton Brown leads the corps of receivers with 68 catches for 1,146 yards and eight touchdowns.
“I don’t know that there’s … a team in the state that has more elite talent than Lafayette,” Wolfe said. “Those two offensive tackles could be playing on Sundays. And they have a UK commit at quarterback … and a Division I tailback. Now that they’ve put it together, they’ve been on a heck of a run.”
Lafayette and Male last met in the first round of the 2012 playoffs, with the Bulldogs winning 17-3. Shaw was an assistant coach at Lafayette then and said he’s been impressed with Male’s return to prominence in recent seasons.
“They’re sound in what they do, and they’re senior heavy,” Shaw said. “I’ve seen that team grow over the years, and they’re playing at a high level. To be honest, I wouldn’t have it any other way than to have to face a team like that for the state championship.”
Jason Frakes can be reached at (502) 582-4046 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
STATE FOOTBALL FINALS
At Houchens Industries/L.T. Smith Stadium, Bowling Green
All times Eastern
* Class A – Beechwood (13-1) vs. Pikeville (12-2), 8 p.m.
* Class 6-A – Male (14-0) vs. Lafayette (12-2), 6 p.m.
* Class 5-A – Bowling Green (13-1) vs. Pulaski County (13-1), 9 p.m.
* Class 2-A – Mayfield (13-1) vs. Newport Central Catholic (9-5), 2 p.m.
* Class 3-A – Lexington Catholic (11-3) vs. Belfry (13-1), 5 p.m.
* Class 4-A – South Warren (14-0) vs. Johnson Central (12-1), 8 p.m.