Ron Price saw the potential and an opportunity for the Bulldogs to do something special Friday night, but Lafayette's strength was too much, leading to the Commodores' 50-13 win.
“They’re ranked No. 1 in the state for a reason. You can’t come out and play the way that we did and expect to stay in the football game,” Price said. “They have a great football team; take nothing away from them, but I think we’re better than we showed tonight if our kids come out and compete every single play.”
Jamel Dennis opened the scoring with a one yard run, putting Lafayette ahead 7-0 after the first quarter. The 'Dores would extend that lead to 17-0 before a Spencer Day to Riley Alef pass gave New Albany its first points of the game at the 3:58 mark. It was at that time that Price knew he team could piece together a comeback, if focused.
“We made some critical mistakes at critical times,” he said. “It’s 17-6 with three minutes left in the first half and as bad as we played we’re still in it if you go in at the half at 17-6. We end up giving up two more touchdowns right before the half. 30-6 is hard to come back from.”
Demarkus Dennis tacked on his second and third scores before the break, and New Albany came out from the break scoring on a five-yard run by Day that was set earlier by Josh Creekmore.
“There’s no doubt every Friday night No. 23 is going to give you everything he’s got from the first play to the last play,” Price said. “If every kid on our football team would follow Josh’s lead, there’s no limit to what we could do.”
Dennis and Brandon Mack rounded out Lafayette's scoring with three long touchdown runs (35, 52, 25 yards), leading the 'Dores to their 25th consecutive win.
“That’s the difference in a state championship football team and a bad football team,” Price said. “The good football teams find ways to make plays when it matters the most, and they had a lot to do with the way we played tonight. If we want to be in that position that they’re in, we have to have playmakers make plays. We had a couple chances on a couple long passes and the kids just dropped the football. You don’t do that and beat teams like Lafayette County.”
Day finished the night 12-for-23 for 142 yards, and Boston Newsome was the leading rusher with 83 yards on 18 carries. Creekmore finished with 44 yards on the ground, 61 receiving yards and 10 tackles. Alef was the leading tackler with 12 and Austin Howard had one sack and Jay Robinson an interception for the defense.
Now at 6-3 (2-1), the focus shifts to securing the number two seed as New Albany will host Rosa Fort and Lewisburg to close out the regular season.
“This group of kids have unlimited potential,” Price said. “We were not expected to be this good this year and they have fought and put us in a great position to finish the year. We have two games left, very winnable games if we continue to focus and get better.”
“If we’ll stay focused and do what we’re very capable of doing, we’ll have exceed many expectations this year. We were not picked second, so hopefully we can take care of business the next two weeks and do our job.”