LEXINGTON, Ky. – The most highly anticipated showdown of the week turned out to be no contest.
Behind the pinpoint passing of Spencer Blackburn, Trinity (3-0), the No. 1 team in the Associated Press’ Kentucky Class 6-A high school football poll, routed host Lafayette 45-7 Friday night. The Shamrocks, which beat Lafayette 70-14 last year in Louisville, amassed 368 yards on offense, 339 of which came in the first half as they jumped out to a 35-0 halftime lead.
Blackburn, a senior, entered Friday’s game completing just 50 percent of his passes for 140 yards and a touchdown. Against the third-ranked Generals (2-1), he connected on eight of his first nine passes and finished the first half 11 of 15 for 196 yards and three scores – all to Jovel Smith.
Gallery: Trinity vs. Lafayette
The hot start even surprised Blackburn a little.
“Through the first few games, we haven’t had an established passing game,” he said. “We’ve been more of a run-heavy team. So, to come out there and do what we did, it’s a little confidence booster.”
The Blackburn-Smith combination got started early. On the game’s third play, a third and three from the Lafayette 47, they connected for an 18-yard pass to keep the Rocks’ opening drive alive. Two plays later, Blackburn hit Smith on a bubble screen for a 24-yard touchdown. They even capped the first half by connecting on a 30-yard fly pattern with :15.9 seconds left that made it 35-0.
Smith ended the night with six catches for 122 yards and three scores.
Trinity coach Bob Beatty said the gameplan wasn’t to use the pass to set up the run, which accounted for 172 yards on 30 carries. In the first half, Trinity got 143 yards on 17 attempts.
“Last week, we ran the football,” he said. “We took advantage of that. This week, we felt like with the coverages, some of their defenses, their schematics, we could take advantage of that. And we happened to throw it well.”
In between those scores, it was all Rocks on both sides of the ball for the first 24 minutes. On defense, Trinity held the Generals to just 45 yards and one first down in the half. Of the Generals’ six possessions, five resulted in three and outs.
Generals quarterback Walker Wood, a University of Kentucky commit and the 29th ranked dual-threat quarterback in the country according to Rivals.com, had little room or time to make plays as the Shamrocks repeatedly blew through the Lafayette offensive line. He finished with just 22 yards rushing on 13 carries and only 65 yards and a score on 11 of 17 passing.
“They play very aggressive up front, and they controlled it,” Lafayette coach Eric Shaw said. “As simple as that. If you don’t match that type of intensity, you’re going to have issues.”
With the game well in hand, Blackburn would try just one pass, an incompletion, in the second half, However, he used his legs to set up the Shamrocks’ sixth score. He ran for nine yards on a fourth and two at the Lafayette 39 to keep Trinity’s first second half drive alive. Three plays later, he went for 25 yards on a third and nine from the 29. That set up Roderick Thomas’ second score of the night and a running clock for the rest of the game as the Rocks led 42-0 with 4:50 left in the third quarter.
Trinity’s dominating performance sets up another highly anticipated matchup next week. The Rocks, the No. 19 team in the USA Today Super 25, will host Male. The Bulldogs are the No. 2 in the AP 6-A poll.
Just as Beatty said the team didn’t look back at last year’s Lafayette game, he said the players are already getting ready for the Bulldogs.
“This one’s over with,” he said. “It’s in the books. They know what’s ahead of us, and we’re really excited.”
Trinity – Jovel Smith 24 pass from Spencer Blackburn (Zach Williams kick) 9:49
Trinity – Jovan Smith 17 run (Williams kick) 3:17
Trinity – Jovel Smith 9 pass from Blackburn (Williams kick) 11:31
Trinity – Roderick Thomas 4 run (Williams kick) 4:10
Trinity – Jovel Smith 30 pass from Blackburn (Williams kick) :15.9
Trinity – Thomas 4 run (Williams kick) 4:50
Trinity – Williams 28 FG :03.3
Lafayette – Quinton Brown 6 pass from Walker Wood (Sutton Averitt kick) 5:51
Total Yards 368 112
First Downs 17 4
Rush-Yards 30-172 24-47
Passing Yards 186 65
Comp-Att-Int 11-18-1 11-17-1
Fumbles-Lost 2-1 1-1
Punts-Avg 2-26.5 8-25.2