Lafayette used a late five-minute drill to keep George Rogers Clark winless.
The Generals scored two touchdowns in the final four minutes to defeat the Cardinals 35-13 in the district opener for both teams, spoiling the Cards’ homecoming contest Friday night at Cardinal Stadium.
Lafayette was clinging to a 21-13 advantage with 7:04 remaining, but scored two touchdowns, both by Kylan Nelson in the last 4:06 to hold the hosts at bay. Clark (0-7) will attempt to get its first win of the season at Tates Creek Friday night.
Clark coach Steven Collins was disappointed in his team’s finish.
“It was disappointing to finish that way,” he said. “We had the wheels fall off there. I don’t think the (final) score was indicative of how the kids fought. With eight minutes to go, we’re going in with the tying score. I have to look at the film to see the breakdown but the effort was there. We were holding our own and they scored.”
Clark was stopped on downs at the Lafayette 8-yard line, which resulted in a 92-yard scoring drive by the Generals. Lafayette also recovered an onside kick that led to another score with 1:53 remaining.
“It (the ball) hit off one of our guys and that’s just one of the unfortunate things that happens,”¿Collins said. “They’re fighting, but it’s just that we’ve got to make plays and they’re a good football team. It seems like each week we play a good football team.”
Clark scored its lone touchdown of the first half on Darian Skinner’s 62-yard run with 9:56 remaining. The touchdown run by Skinner tied the score at 7-7. Lafayette scored on its opening drive on quarterback Garrett Peavler’s 12-yard touchdown strike to Brandon Epps with 6:54 remaining in the first quarter.
Skinner finished with 135 yards rushing and scored both of Clark’s touchdowns.
Following the score by the hosts, the Generals fired back with a 9-yard touchdown run by Nelson, giving the guests a 14-7 advantage with 7:44 left in the opening half. The Generals threatened again following Nelson’s 50-yard kickoff return on the ensuing kickoff, but were stopped at the Cards’ 8-yard line. Following a three-and-out by Clark, Lafayette punched in its third score of the first half on Peavler’s 14-yard touchdown strike to Charles Sweat-Washington for a 21-7 lead at the break.
Peavler finished with 260 yards passing and tossed three touchdowns. He threw for 127 yards and two touchdowns in the opening half. His longest strike was a 31-yard pass to Darius Hughes in the second quarter. Nelson added 119 yards rushing and accounted for three of Lafayette’s five scores.
Clark managed just 96 yards in the opening half, with most of that yardage coming on Skinner’s 62-yard touchdown run. Skinner, who took over at quarterback after Luke Sharrock guided the team’s first two series, paced the Cards with 67 yards in the opening half.
The Cards had seven first downs in the first half and was 0-5 on third-down conversions, but made good on a conversion to open the second half, leading to a touchdown.
On Clark’s first drive of the second half, Skinner crossed the goal-line on a fourth-and-and-two with a 17-yard touchdown run, closing the gap to 21-13 with 7:04 remaining in the third quarter.
Clark just missed on another fourth-down conversion at the Lafayette 15-yard line on its next drive, but came up a yard short, turning the ball over on downs at the Generals’ 8-yard line. The Generals then used a 92-yard scoring drive, capped by Nelson’s 4-yard score to create spacing between the two district foes and giving the Generals a 28-13 cushion.
On the ensuing possession, the Generals recovered an onside kick, with Nelson scoring his second touchdown of the contest. Lafayette recovered on onside kick on the kickoff and scored again for the final margin.
“We’re getting closer,”¿Collins said. “I’m not giving up and not giving up on these kids. We’re going to keep fighting until the very end.”
Lafayette 07 14 00 14 — 35
Clark 00 07 00 06 — 13
Lafayette — Peavler 12 pass to Epps (Gillespie kick), 6:54
Clark — Skinner 62 run (Dailey kick), 9:56
Lafayette — Nelson 9 run (Gillespie kick), 7:44
Lafayette — Peavler 14 pass to Sweat-Washington, :43
Clark — Skinner 17 run (kick blocked), 7:04
Lafayette — Nelson 4 run (Gillespie kick), 4:06
Lafayette — Peavler 38 pass to Nelson (Gillespie kick), 2:09