Lafayette County impressive in playoff opener
By Stephen Bubalo PrepsKC staff writer
Ask most football players how they feel about playing in rain or snow and most will probably tell you they love it.
“This is football weather,” they’ll say.
If that’s true, add Lafayette County to the list of teams that don’t mind a little, or a lot, of rain on game day.
The Class 2 fourth-ranked Huskers were dominant in their playoff opener tonight amidst a steady rain all game long, rolling past Adrian 47-0 to improve to 10-1.
“We prepared the boys countless days for the weather,” Huskers head coach Steve Cook said. “They went out and had the best pregame I’ve seen in my 10 years with the program. They loved it.”
Heavy favorites coming in, the Huskers showed why as they carried their pregame excitement over once the clock started by scoring touchdowns on seven of their nine first-half possessions, which led to all their points in the first 24 minutes.
“They just had too much,” Adrian head coach George Bruto said of the Huskers. “They have speed. They’re not real big, but they have speed. We’ve had a hard time all year dealing with speed.”
Lafayette County did most of its damage on the ground – led by Cottry Lewis – due to the weather, but threw in a few pass plays that went for touchdowns as well.
“Our play calling was so narrow (with this weather), but we tried not to be too predictable,” Cook said. “A couple of times we used our screen game just to keep them in check.”
But Cottry was the star on this night, running for 200-plus yards including several long runs.
What might have been most impressive was his ability to make Blackhawk defenders miss tackles despite not being able to make strong cuts on the sloppy field.
“Cottry attacked the hole well,” Cook said. “He has the ability to make one, two, three guys miss. And the offensive line was able to get him to the second level. He just feels out that crease and once he gets it he’s gone.”
While the Huskers were doing just about anything they wanted, Adrian was struggling to get first downs, as well as just hang onto the ball.
Bruto said these were the worst conditions he’s ever had a team play in during his 30 years of coaching. They fumbled the ball three times, including two in the first half that the Lafayette County offense turned into touchdowns.
The loss ended the Blackhawk season at 4-7, the programs first losing campaign since 1975.
“The weather takes you out of your game,” Bruto said. “When they put nine and 10 guys in the box, you can’t block that.
“ … We didn’t have the kind of year we thought we would. We’ll bounce back.”
Meanwhile, the Huskers are moving on and will travel to face a 10-1 Butler squad Monday at 7 p.m. for a spot in the state quarterfinals.
Cook said the program has had trouble in the past at Butler, losing three times there in the last seven years.
But he is working with a different team this year, a determined team that is hungry for more. The Huskers won the programs first-ever playoff game last year before losing in double overtime to Carrollton in the second round.
Cook said that loss provided motivation for his team in the offseason and it has guided them to the playoffs.
“We have a lot of starters back from that team and they are very driven to not let that happen again,” he said. “They talked about how last season ended all summer long. They have a lot of cohesiveness.”
The path to the state championship game got a little easier for the Huskers if they can keep advancing, as top-ranked and previously unbeaten Centralia was stunned by Monroe City.
But come playoff time, Cook knows the last thing a team can do is look ahead.
“We’re 1-0 and it’s on to the next game,” he said. “Nothing is more important than Butler.”
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