Coming off a 33-22 loss to Oxford last week stung, not just because the Lafayette Commodores gave up a 16-point lead and 27 unanswered points, but late in the first half last week, starting quarterback Tyrus Williams was ejected from the game for throwing a punch at an Oxford player.
That’s the bad news. The good news is a back-door thanks has to be given to the COVID-19 pandemic because originally this was supposed to be an off week for Lafayette like last season, but even before the first two games of the season were cancelled, this matchup formed.
This is good news because of the way the suspension from getting kicked out of a game by the MHSAA works. The suspension for anyone kicked out of a contest from any sport is a regulation’s game length starting from the half, quarter, or inning after the half, quarter, or inning in which the ejection occurred. Since Williams was ejected in the second quarter, his time started in the third quarter against Oxford last week, so Williams has sat out for two of his required four quarters.
This means Williams will only be out for the first half against Mooreville. Had Lafayette had the bye week like last season, that first half suspension would have come against four-time defending 5A champion West Point. That would have been a key loss for Lafayette on offense.
As it is, Taylor Tarver will likely be the starting quarterback this week against the Class 4A Mooreville Troopers. The Troopers are coming off a 35-23 road win over Belmont last week. This will be their home opener.
Tarver did well in his time in at quarterback, but with a limited playbook at the time, he ended up throwing a pair of costly interceptions, one on an out-rout two different Oxford defenders jumped on that turned into a pick-six. Tarver likely spent time with the first team and dove into the playbook a little deeper than he was going to dive before entering this season to prepare for this game.
So far on the young season, Mooreville allows 24.5 points per game. Not a sign that they can slow the Commodore offense down especially when Williams returns for the second half. Lafayette’s offense has proven they can be lethal when all the pieces are together. Running back Jayden Reed went over 100 yards last week. If Lafayette can mix it up enough in the first half with Tarver, Reed will be able to break loose and be even more dangerous in the second half when Williams returns.
Mooreville aren’t slouches on offense. Through two games they average more pass attempts (26) than rushing attempts (24.5) so far while averaging 24.5 points per game, a sign of a balanced offense. Trooper quarterback Dawson Phillips is 31-for-52 on the season for 417 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions so far. On the ground they are led by Alyk Houle with 209 yards on the ground and three touchdowns. This will definitely be a test for the Lafayette defense in the air after allowing four such touchdowns last week.
This is Lafayette’s last road test before hitting division play. The defense will have a test against another team that is balanced in the air and on the ground, while there will be looks at the future with a different quarterback on offense at least in the first half.
The game can be heard on the radio on 105.1 FM and can be seen online at https://lafco.live/watch-live/ for a fee of $10.