Cleveland's defense struggled to stop the Commodore's offense as they scored on each of their first four possessions.
The read-option and the quarterback pitch proved to be dismantling for the Wildcat defense as Lafayette quarterback Devin Thomas threw two touchdown passes and rushed for two more and had what head coach Eric Robertson called, "his best game of the year."
"Devin is a good manager of the game and tonight he was able to see what they gave him. We haven’t pitched the ball on the option much lately, but Cleveland gave it to us and he did a good job of pitching the ball at the right time and pulling it when he needed to. He made some big plays on third down for us and some big passes for us," said Commodores Head Coach Eric Robertson.
The Commodores opened the game with a five play, 67-yard drive that culminated in a 15-yard touchdown pass from Thomas to Landon Busby. Holland Ryan added the kick after for a 7-0 score with 9:35 remaining in the opening quarter.
Cleveland tied the score on the next possession with a strong seven play, 65-yard drive that ended in a 30-yard touchdown run from Vaughnte Dorsey. Trace Edwards' kick after was good for a 7-7 game.
Lafayette increased the lead to 14-7 on a 20-yard rushing score from Rashun Rockette with 5:10 remaining in the first quarter. Ryan added the kick after.
Cleveland had a good thing going on their next possession that was highlighted by a fake punt from the Wildcats that resulted in a 32-yard run from Dorsey to give the Wildcats the ball on the Commodores 28-yard line.
A false start penalty and a couple a runs for loss resulted in a fourth and long situation that did not fare to well as Dorsey was chased in the backfield and then called for intentional grounding on the turnover on downs.
Lafayette was in business with the turnover at their 48-yard line and it only took four plays as Thomas connected with Rockette for a 35-yard touchdown pass with 10:15 to go in the second quarter. The kick was good for a 21-7 game.
The Wildcats wouldn't give in and responded with a nine play, 73 yard drive that saw Dorsey connect with Kyran Parker on a 35-yard touchdown pass with 5:58 left in the second quarter. The Wildcats attempted a two-point conversion but it failed and Lafayette led 21-13.
The Commodores took advantage of good field position on the ensuing kickoff as they started on their 47-yard line. A big run from Tyrell Price along with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the Wildcats set up a 16-yard touchdown run from Thomas with 4:59 left in the first half. Ryan added the point after for a 28-13 lead, which would be the halftime score.
The Wildcats came out of the locker room in the third quarter determined to run the football better, and for the opening drive they did just that off the legs of Andonte Maxie who carried the ball seven of the eight times on the drive and scored from three yards out with 8:10 remaining in the third. The conversion attempt failed, but CHS closed the gap to 28-19.
That would be as close as the Wildcats would get as the Commodores answered with a seven play, 51-yard drive that ended with Thomas scoring off a 30-yard run with 4:23 left in the third. The kick after was good for a 35-19.
As the game rolled into the fourth quarter, momentum would stay with Lafayette the rest of the way as Dorsey's pass was intercepted by Vincent Lewis and returned 45-yards for the score to put the game out of reach at 42-19.
Lafayette (10-5) will play Forrest County Agricultural High at 3 p.m. Saturday for the 4A State Championship.
Dorsey finished the game 3-of-9 for 56 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions. He also had 17 carries for 86 yards with a touchdown. Maxie had 19 carries for 75 yards with a touchdown. Parker caught two passes for 45 yards with a touchdown.