MADISON, Fla. — Lafayette High’s playoff run came to an end on Friday at the hands of the Madison County Cowboys.
A week after winning their first playoff game since 2012, the Hornets fell 50-20 at Boot Hill.
Madison County used a pair of punt return touchdowns, a pick-six and 325 rushing yards to come away with the win.
“To play the defending state champs 50-20 and we had a chance to make it a little closer — I’m proud of our guys,” said Lafayette coach Joey Pearson. “They (Madison County) are a great team.
“They had two punt returns for a touchdown and an interception return. You just can’t let up for a second. If you do, then they score.”
After struggling on offense to start the game, LHS calmed down and started to gain some rhythm. Jaxson Beach started 0-8 through the air, but finished the night 26-of-47 for 230 yards and two touchdowns.
The Hornets didn’t fold even after facing a 30-0 deficit.
Ben Massey’s 85-yard kick return touchdown in the middle of the third quarter trimmed Madison County’s lead to 37-13.
“I think offensively we were a little overwhelmed early,” Pearson said. “We settled down and put together some drives. We fought back and played Hornet football to give ourselves a chance to at least get back in the game.”
But each time LHS tried to mount a comeback in the second half, Madison County's running back duo of Vinsota Allen and Robert Hiers took over.
Allen finished with 191 carries on 19 carries while Hiers totaled 121 yards on 12 totes.
The Hornets were able to stay somewhat close — there wasn’t a running clock until the middle of the fourth quarter — by forcing four turnovers. Malik Jennings and Gavin Taylor each had an interception and LHS forced two fumbles.
There were some offensive highlights for LHS as well. Beach connected on three long passes — a 36-yard strike down the right sideline to Richy James, a 27-yard touchdown to Adam Perry and a 23-yard score to Massey on the final play of the game.
Madison County (10-1) will host Chiefland next week in a regional final while Lafayette finished its season 8-4.
“You look back on the season, I thought we really improved throughout the year," Pearson said. "Our guys do a great job of representing our town and our school.”