YORK — Three weeks from now these two might have to do it all again. You'd have to doubt York High is looking forward to seeing Jahlil Green again, after he led Lafayette to a 25-20 win over the Falcons in their Bay Rivers District football showdown Thursday for a share of first place at Bailey Field.
Green carried 23 times for 231 yards and three touchdowns to lead a night of ball-control dominance for the Rams. The victory virtually assures the Rams (8-1, 7-1 district) of the No. 2 seed in the Region I Division 3 playoffs and a bye to the semifinals.
York (7-2, 6-2) drops to the No. 3 seed and likely will host the winner of Friday's Bruton-Poquoson game in the first round of the playoffs Nov. 9. Should York win that game, it would then probably face Lafayette in the regional semifinals on Nov. 16.
Lafayette, which has not won the district title since 2007, moved a half-game ahead of Smithfield (7-1, 6-1) in race for first place in the district. But the Packers host winless New Kent on Friday, so the Rams should again have company in first.
Green's final touchdown came three plays after he was stripped of the ball by York's Devin Campbell, who returned the fumble 48 yards for a touchdown to cut Rams lead to 19-14 with 4:51 left in the third quarter. Green's response was a 49-yard burst up the middle that stretched Lafayette's lead to 25-14.
York mounted an 11-play fourth-quarter drive that culminated in Austin Norman's 9-yard touchdown pass to Staffon Smith with 4:08 to play, cutting Lafayette's lead to 25-20. But Lafayette ran out the clock with nine running plays that resulted in three first downs.
Green starred in leading Lafayette to a 19-7 halftime lead. The 5-foot-10, 175-pound speedster rocketed 28 yards to cap the Rams opening drive — eight plays, 60 yards all on the ground — to make it 7-0.
The Falcons could gain no first-half traction on the ground, and had only 33 yards rushing on 25 attempts for the night, but used the pass to retaliate on their first drive and tie the contest at 7-apiece. Norman (170 yards passing) threw 18 yards to Dalton Dye on third-and-8 to give the Falcons a fresh set of downs.
Norman passed 42 yards to Tywaun Lewis, who beat Green to the ball in a battle of two of the district's best athletes. Two plays later, Norman ran in from 7 yards to tie the game at 7.
Rams linebacker Corey Stephenson forced a Norman fumble midway through the second quarter, giving his team the ball at the Falcons' 21. That led to Green's 4-yard touchdown run that gave the Rams a 13-7 lead.
Green broke something like four tackles on a 36-yard run that launched the Rams' third touchdown drive of the first half. Schekel Wallace capped the drive with a 5-yard touchdown run that sent the Rams into the locker room at intermission 12 points ahead.
Terrific line play on both sides of the ball was the key. Tyler New, Coleman Goad, Austin Holvoet, Marquan Harris, Peter Hurst and Parker Kindley were the offensive blocking standouts for the Rams in the first two quarters, while Stephenson, Carlos Coronado and Charlie Woollum shined up front on defense.
LAFAYETTE 25, YORK 20 (FINAL)
Lafayette.....7....12....6....0 - 25
Lafayette: Green 28 run (Webb kick), 8:36
York: Norman 8 run, (Strack kick), 5:01
Lafayette: Green 9 run (kick blocked), 5:46