Lafayette County rolls over Holden

PrepsKC staff

By Steve Bubalo PrepsKC Senior Writer
Posted: November 11, 2017 - 9:29 PM

Steve Cook didn't mince words when talking Friday night about what makes his Lafayette County team so tough to play against.

"We're big and strong up front," Cook said. "Eventually, that starts to grind on them. That's the strength of our team."

That strength was on full display in the second half of the Huskers Class 2 state quarterfinal win on the road against Holden tonight, as they pulled away for a 34-14 victory to remain perfect on the season at 13-0. 

For the first time all season the Huskers faced a halftime deficit, trailing 14-12, but made the necessary adjustments in the second half to start to take control.

"At halftime we figured out an adjustment on what they were doing on their D-line and where we needed to get the ball," Cook said. "It worked well."

The Huskers turned the ball over on downs on their first drive of the second half, and that drive ended with two incomplete passes. They wouldn't throw another pass the rest of the game.

Elijah Thirkield seemed to open the floodgates a bit with a 50-yard run to start Lafayette County's next drive. Eight plays later, quarterback Kinser Madison converted his second fourth-and-1 on the drive as he found the end zone from 3 yards out for a 20-14 lead after the two-point conversion.

The Husker defense would force a punt and Mason Gash would help them pull away, as he took a hand-off 63 yards for another touchdown and a 28-14 lead after another two-point conversion.

"We needed a big play," Gash said. "That was a momentum-changer. The defense got a great stop to get us the ball. That had a big impact."

These two teams played back in late September and the Huskers dominated the game through the air, cruising to a 49-6 win. Things were different this time around and it took them a little longer to adjust.

"In the first half we went to the well a few too many times looking for a big play through the air," Cook said. "This was a different style of game today."

Holden coach Mike Hedrick pointed that out, too, as his defense kept the team in the game before Lafayette County's size took over.

"In the first half it was blow-for-blow," Hedrick said. "We just couldn't answer in the second half. I think they wore us down. We stopped the pass and then they came and just started pounding it."

Thirkield put the finishing touches on the win with a 25-yard touchdown run, which was set up by a Dawson Kouril interception. Much like the offense, the defense also put together a strong second half.

"We came out more physical in the second half," Gash said of the defense.

Jackson Tevis threw a pair of touchdown passes for the Eagles in the first half, connecting with Andrew Martin and Josh Laing. But Holden's late-season run would come up short, as they overcame a 1-7 start to the season to finish 5-8 and be one of the last eight teams playing.

"We lost a good group of seniors," Hedrick said. "We had a lot of young kids. Every game we got better. This was a great situation for our kids, our town and our community."

For Lafayette County, they will now prepare for the winner of the North Callaway-Clark County game, which takes place tomorrow afternoon. This is the second time in three years the Huskers have been a game away from the Class 2 state title game, as they lost to eventual champion Lamar back in 2015.