JAMES CITY — In a game that featured plenty of big plays on both sides of the ball, special teams proved to be the difference for Lafayette High on Friday night during the Rams' 16-14 homecoming victory over Jamestown at Wanner Stadium.
The Rams recorded safeties on two Jamestown punt attempts in the end zone, including one with 41 seconds left to give Lafayette (7-1 overall, 6-1 Bay Rivers District) the win. It also kept the Rams' district title hopes alive as they face York next Thursday at Bailey Field.
With overtime looming, Darren Patten made the play that gave Lafayette the win.
On fourth-and-22 from the Eagles' 4, the snap went over the head of Jamestown backup punter Stas Szczepanski. The senior reacted quickly and saved the ball from going out of the back of the end zone. Szczepanski broke one tackle, but Patten was there to wrap him up in the end zone for a safety.
Lafayette moved the ball at will for most of the first half, but was unable to punch it in for a touchdown.
The Rams finally broke up the shutout in the final minutes of the second quarter, thanks to a strong play from its special teams. Facing fourth-and-23 from the 10 with 38 seconds left, Jamestown punter Matt Perry was back to kick.
Lafayette's Parker Kindley found a seam up the middle and blocked the kick. The ball rolled through the back of the end zone before Kindley could corral the loose ball, resulting in a safety and a 2-0 lead.
The Rams nearly struck again just before halftime, thanks to a trick play. Wideout Xavier Crosby found Schekel Wallace for a 45-yard gain to give Lafayette a first-and-goal from the 8-yard line. But the Rams could get no closer, as Jahlil Green was stopped at the 8 as time expired.
Jamestown coach Lee Williams went into his bag of tricks in the third quarter.
Szczepanski took the pitch from Doane, rolled out and hit JJ Boyd on a 52-yard completion to put the Eagles in scoring position. Two plays later, Doane found Braxton Miller just behind the linebackers for a touchdown. Doane's extra-point attempt hit the crossbar and was no good, leaving Jamestown ahead 6-2.
Lafayette answered on the ensuing possession with some nice yardage on the ground. Coach Andy Linn's team ran five straight times, including a 44-yard touchdown by Green with 7:55 left in the third quarter. The extra point failed as the Rams led 8-6.
Jamestown (4-4, 4-3) went to work again, thanks to some big plays in the passing game. Doane hooked up with Ben Hutchison on a 42-yard completion to give the Eagles a first-and-10 from the Lafayette 25. Two incompletions and a penalty later, Doane found Landon Morrow on a 30-yard catch-and-run score. Doane scored the 2-point conversion as Jamestown led 14-8 with 10:47 left.
The Rams would not go away quietly and marched down the field. Green's 44-yard run gave Lafayette a first-and-goal from the Jamestown 9. Two plays later, Brendan McGinty rumbled around left end and ran over a tackler in the end zone to tie the game at 14.
Green rushed for 209 yards on 18 carries and scored a touchdowns to reach the 1,000–yard plateau for the third time in his career -- the first two were with West Point. Wallace rushed for 58 yards on 16 carries.
Daivon Turner paced Jamestown with 50 yards on 13 carries. Doane was 10-of-19 passing for 141 yards and two scores.
LAFAYETTE 16, JAMESTOWN 14
Jamestown – 0;0,6,8—14
Lafayette – 0,2,6;8—16