Lafayette tops Benton in rivalry game
By Ross Martin The St. Joseph News-Press
Paul Woolard quickly assessed Thursday night’s rivalry game between Benton and Lafayette as the greatest in the St. Joseph rivals’ storied history.
It’s hard to argue the point.
There were three touchdowns scored in the final 1 minute, 36 seconds at Sparks Field. Senior Derrick Babineaux’s 58-yard touchdown reception on Lafayette’s first and only completion of the game provided the winning six in the Fighting Irish’s 46-40 victory, capping a back-and-forth offensive frenzy.
The historic affair featured four 100-yard rushers, trick plays, critical turnovers, Lafayette’s players fighting each other and two teams unwittingly playing out an epic.
“We had won it lost it, won it lost it, won it lost it so many times. Absolutely nuts,” Woolard said. “I can’t even remember the last two minutes now. You’re caught in so many moments.
“It’s just an amazing thing they were able to pull it out.”
Lafayette (6-4) and Benton combined for more than 1,000 yards of offense in a battle that featured six ties and three lead changes. Babineaux’s winning catch came 26 seconds after Benton quarterback Chris Young tossed his third touchdown pass of the second half, hitting Brad Steltenpohl from 18 yards out to give the Cardinals an apparent lead.
Instead, Lafayette blocked the extra point to preserve a 40-all tie.
On the Irish’s second play of the ensuing possession, D’Treal Stone fired a pass deep down the visitor’s sideline. Babineaux outleaped Benton’s Jared Ross, stealing the pass from behind the cornerback.
After juking one defender, Babineaux scored the winning touchdown. Benton’s final chance ended when Young threw his second interception.
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