MAYO, Fla. — The Lafayette Hornets celebrated head coach Joey Pearson’s birthday in style Friday night.
After eight straight losses to Trenton, the Hornets delivered Pearson a nice present by routing their nemesis 56-6 at Dale Walker Field.
“This was one we needed,” Pearson said after the blowout and after the LHS band serenaded him with “Happy Birthday” following the game.
“It’s been a long time coming.”
Lafayette (7-3) wasted little time in making sure it was indeed a happy birthday.
After stuffing Trenton (1-8) on fourth-and-short to take over at the Tigers’ 34, the Hornets needed just four plays to go up 7-0. Quarterback Jaxson Beach started his big night — the junior threw for five touchdowns and ran for two more — with an 8-yard rushing TD with 9:39 left in the first.
Beach, who completed 13 of 16 passes for 195 yards, then hit Ben Massey for a 47-yard touchdown on the Hornets’ next drive to extend the lead to 14-0 late in the first. Massey intercepted a Trenton pass in the end zone to set up the Hornets’ drive.
“Jaxson did a great job being efficient throwing the ball and really spreading the field,” Pearson said. “If we can get our offense like that where everybody is involved, it’s hard to stop us.
“Offensively, we had a great week of practice and I thought we executed just like we practiced. It’s exciting.”
The Tigers’ turnover woes continued in the second quarter.
Trenton fumbled on their next drive, one play after Wyatt Lovelace darted 15 yards on a fake punt on fourth-and-12.
After Richy James hauled in a Beach touchdown pass, the Tigers fumbled on the ensuing kickoff which James recovered. Massey then caught a 26-yard touchdown pass for the second score in less than a minute to push the advantage to 28-0.
“I thought defensively we played with a lot of intensity and played really disciplined and took away what they do,” Pearson added as LHS held Trenton to 129 yards of offense. “And every time we did something (forcing three turnovers and two turnovers on downs), we took advantage.”
Beach, who completed passes to five different receivers, hit Adam Perry on a 26-yard score and then Massey again from 20 yards out as LHS led 42-0 at halftime. Massey had three touchdowns and 109 yards on five receptions.
Beach, who has thrown for 2,024 yards and rushed for another 1,019 on the season, scored again in the third on a 25-yard run during which he ran over a Trenton defender at the 10. After Trenton scored on a 20-yard Jordan Fulmer run in the fourth, the Hornets answered with a 1-yard Garris Edwards run in the final minute.
The Hornets are off next week before the Class 1A playoffs begin Nov. 9. LHS was fourth in this week’s regional points standings, and if that holds, would host the No. 5 seed in the first round.