St. Joseph: Lafayette capitalizes on seven CHS turnovers to cruise to 56-6 Midland Empire Conference victory Friday (Sept. 28, 2018)
By PAUL STURM, C-T Sports Editor
ST. JOSEPH, Mo. — With their decided advantage in overall speed and quickness, the St. Joseph: Lafayette Fighting Irish didn’t need any help from the Chillicothe High School football Hornets as they met in Midland Empire Conference play at LHS’ Alumni Stadium Friday.
Despite their intentions otherwise, the Hornets provided lots of help anyway.
Continuing its tough-to-explain season-long trend, Chillicothe fumbled the ball seven more times – losing five – and also had two passes intercepted, setting the table for Lafayette to register a 56-6 Homecoming win.
The defeat drops Chillicothe to 1-5 overall and 1-3 in the MEC heading into this coming Friday’s home game against conference unbeaten Savannah. Lafayette lifted its season mark to 5-1 and its league ledger to 3-1.
The final score hides the fact that, three plays into the second period, Chillicothe was behind only 14-6 and had just received an adrenaline boost from junior Isaak Rasche’s 79-yards kickoff return for a touchdown.
However, on the Fighting Irish’s next possession, which started just inside its own 20-yard line, they gained between 14 and 29 yards on their first four snaps – a mix of three pass completions and one run.
Those big bites chewed the yardage LHS needed to cover down to only four, which it gained on junior quarterback Daeton McGaughy’s sprint-out keeper around left end on which he easily could have gone much farther, if need be.
With the third of placekicker Jakob Palmer’s eight successful point-after boots of the crisp evening, Lafayette had reestablished the 2-scores margin it had created just before Rasche’s return and was into high gear.
By the time halftime arrived 9:13 later, the Irish had scored three more touchdowns, giving it six consecutive possessions in which it put the ball in the Chillicothe end zone.
With the “running-clock” mercy rules for timekeeping in use throughout the final half, things did not improve for Chillicothe, although they didn’t become embarrassingly worse, either.
An approximately-15-yards pass interception return by Miles Henderson, who’d had two touchdown receptions from McGaughy before intermission, bumped the count up to 49-6 midway through quarter No. 3.
Then, after the last of CHS’ seven giveaways – still with its first-stringers on the field against Lafayette’s backups, the Irish offensive reserves moved the ball 27 yards in seven plays – overcoming a 10-yards loss on one play – to post a score of their own on a 1-yard run with 5:18 on the fourth-quarter clock.
The game’s script – as far as Chillicothe’s offensive struggles – was previewed on the contest’s opening possession.
Beginning at their own 28-yard line, the Hornets drew Lafayette offside before even running a play. However, with a first-and-5 situation, three CHS runs gained one, one, and zero yards, leading to a punt.
While fresh, the Chillicothe defense fashioned its own 3-and-out on the Irish’s first series, but it would be the last time until the second half Lafayette would come up empty-handed.
On the third play after that early defensive stop, Hornets quarterback Jaden Winder was hit from his blind side while trying to find a passing target on a third-and-8. Not surprisingly, the ball fell to the turf and Lafayette’s Derrick Owens covered it at the CHS 24.
Overcoming an illegal procedure penalty in the process, Lafayette netted at least eight yards on each of the three plays it used to cover the 24 yards. The first of the McGaughy-to-Henderson scoring hookups went for 11 yards and, with Palmer’s kick, put Lafayette ahead for keeps at 7-0 with 5:52 to go in the first quarter.
After a second CHS punt and a short return to the Hornets’ 44, the Fighting Irish advanced to paydirt in five plays, the last a 9-yards fade-route strike from McGaughy to Derrick May on the second play of quarter No. 2.
The succeeding kick was high, but short, as expected, and track standout Rasche caught it in near-full-flight at the CHS 21. His head of steam getting him to the Irish coverage unit before they could react and “break down”, Rasche broke through the first line of defenders, angled right to the nearby sideline and outran the LHS pursuit all the way to inside the Irish 20.
There, a safety-valve defender had an angle on him, but the Hornet slowed just enough to be able to cut back to his left and escape the off-balance defender’s arm-tackle attempt before covering the last 10-12 yards all by himself.