Three Takeaways From Generals Win at GRC


David Rearic, used with permission

[Winchester, KY] Lafayette Starting QB DJ Walker (7) scrambles to the sideline.

The Lafayette Generals secured their inaugural win of the season against the George Rogers Clark Cardinals (GRC), Friday night in Winchester, KY, handling business by a score of 14-3. Starting Quarterback DJ Walker rushed for 55 yards, and completed six pass attempts for 51 yards including a 23-yard touchdown pass to star wideout Tanner Pace. Defensively, Bond Jacobs had a garish performance, accounting for a dazzling 11.5 tackles; four being tackles for loss.

Of course, with the delectable taste of victory starting to evanesce, Lafayette Football fans can walk away not only satisfied with the Generals pieces finally falling into place, but with a few takeaways as well.

1. In Defense, We Trust

Anyone who has followed Lafayette Football this year will tell you that the defense has always been the Generals’ stronger side of the ball, and it was all in the numbers on Friday night. The home Cardinals were held to a mediocre 117 offensive yards, unable to find the endzone under the lights. The lone three points came from a 28-yard field goal by kicker Clay Turley, who split the uprights after missing earlier in the game.

The Generals once again did a stellar job pass rushing, and the secondary even came up with an interception, thanks to senior linebacker Braden Kettenring. Cael Green had a 15- yard solo sack, ending up with two tackles for loss for -19 yards. The Generals also forced GRC into negative yardage for an entire drive five times, and forced two turnovers.

It’s easy to flinch at the fact that the Generals have allowed 244 points to opponents through seven games this year (35/game) but it is critical to note that the scoreboard never tells the full story. The Generals haven’t been nearly as bad in terms of giving up physical yardage, just the points on the board. More defensive efforts like these in the coming weeks and the Generals could win out heading into the postseason, and splash plays like the ones found last Friday are a great place to start.

2. DJ Walker is a Certified Baller

With Hayden Dawahare, Myles Florek, and now Tre Wilson among others all out to injury, DJ Walker has exponentially augmented his role with this football team. In his opening game against Scott County this year, he had a single yard. However, in Friday’s game, he would throw and rush for 106 out of all 136 yards. His athleticism and Lynn Bowden-esque playmaking ability outside of the pocket is a facet of his game that cannot go unnoticed, and he has shown his worth despite starting the year as the third string quarterback this year.

3. For the Love of the Game

“The energy on the sidelines was just different [Friday night]; you just had to be there.” was what team photographer David Rearic had to say in a phone conversation following the game. And it would be hard to disagree. Setting aside the painful deficits on the scoreboard, this team certainly fights as hard as any other 6A squad, which is something that has always favored the Generals.

This sideline energy is nothing new for the Generals either. In an interview with the Lafayette coaching staff before their home opener versus Scott County, Offensive Coordinator Alex Matthews said that the biggest change leading into the 2021 season was the culture.

“The players are here. The sense of family and togetherness, we are a group that is going through something [together]… We are happy to be here,” he commented.

Even as a student, you can even feel the sense of family and togetherness off the field, and in the school building. All throughout the following Monday, it was exciting to see the players bringing the energy from the victory back home. It wasn’t just the players either, when Coach Shaw told me with a warm smile that the Generals, “finally got the monkey off their back” in the morning metal detector lines. Life and love is in the air amongst the Generals, and in the locker room as well, with that life and love being that of the love of the game.

Final Thoughts

Is it time to sound the alarms after the first win in seven games for the Generals? Certainly not. Can the Generals win out heading into playoff ball? Certainly.

Up next is a winless Henry Clay team on the second installment of the Generals’ three week road trip around town. The Devils have done a great job putting points on the board, especially when healthy, but struggle to keep opposing teams out of the endzone. On paper, this isn’t a daunting task for the Generals, especially considering that the Devils sit in the slums of the KHSAA’s RPI rankings, but this is a huge test for the Generals as it’s an opportunity to put points on the board against a lackluster defense, but also keep one of Lexington’s prolific offenses out of the endzone on the road.

It’s hard to imagine the Generals aren’t hungry to relive the euphoric taste of victory one, two, or even three more times this season. Hunger is not the issue, but rather filling up the plate. At a lowly 1-6, the Generals have nothing more to lose, and fans should expect to see that on the field in the coming weeks.