David Rearic/ DR Productions
Last Friday night, the Lafayette Generals found themselves on the wrong end of an absolute bloodbath, dealt to them by in-city rival Dunbar. The Generals were shutout, losing 45-0 in what could be considered not only their hardest game of the season, but their worst loss.
Simply put, this was the ugliest offensive performance of the season for the Generals by a country mile. When you discount starting quarterback Myles Florek’s scrambles/sacks, the Generals netted a loss of five yards on 19 rushing attempts. The passing game was marginally better, with Florek completing eight of 18 passes for a lackluster 48 yards, with his longest pass of the night going for 27 yards. For those not doing the math at home, that is 15 total offensive yards… compared to Dunbar’s 408.
And it doesn’t stop there. Lafayette also ran 42 offensive plays, converting for 3 first downs, two coming from passing and one coming off of a penalty on the Bulldogs. Ball security was yet another addition of a seemingly never ending list of issues the Generals had, as Dunbar scored 17 of their 45 points off of turnovers, coming from two fumbles and two interceptions both thrown by Florek. The two biggest issues from Friday’s game, however, were the fact that the Generals scored no points on three trips to the redzone, and the fact that they had the ball for 21 minutes, five less than the Bulldogs and still did next to nothing with it. In fact, the Generals actually held the ball longer than Dunbar until the final quarter, where the Bulldogs had possession for nine minutes to Lafayette’s three.
When the offense can’t get anything going, it is the defense’s job to keep the team in the game. That did not happen. The General run defense allowed for 202 yards on 43 attempts and three rushing touchdowns, averaging nearly five yards per carry. The secondary was somehow worse, allowing 207 passing yards on ten completions. Dunbar’s starting QB Jake Smith completed 9 of those passes on 13 attempts for two of three passing touchdowns and a pick. Howard Jackson threw and completed one 36 yard pass that went all the way for a touchdown. The Bulldogs averaged an abysmal 20.7 yards per completion and roughly 15 yards per attempt. As for the night as a whole, Dunbar ran 57 offensive plays, averaging a gain of 7.2 yards per play.
There is a silver lining in all of this though, and that is the pass rush. Lafayette had four sacks for 27 yards, one sack less than Dunbar, as well as recovering two of three fumbles and also one forced interception.
If the Generals even want to think about doing anything in the rapidly- approaching postseason, there are going to have to be some major changes. The second-worst team in Lexington (Tates Creek, per MaxPreps) needs to change up their play calling to avoid predictability and the offensive line needs to find an answer for opposing pass rushes and give Florek more time to throw the ball. While still poor, passing was more effective than rushing for the Generals, and it has been all season, and should be embraced as such. The receiving core is there, and Florek performed well last year as a Freshman.
As for the defense? The pass rush is looking great, but the run defense needs to quit allowing such huge creases for the pigskin to be hammered through. As for the secondary, there needs to be an increase in effort and in communication. 21 yards per completion is embarrassing, and given how the offense has performed, the team as a whole cannot and will not win a single game allowing more than 10-20 points to any team, much less 45.
The Generals will face Henry Clay in the opening round of the KHSAA Football Playoffs. In their meeting earlier in the season, Henry Clay won 7-0.