JAMES CITY — For almost a full quarter, Lafayette High was making the Region I Division 3 semifinal cakewalk many expected, against the same Park View team it beat by 36 points in the 2011 playoffs. Then the Dragons fought back, with big plays and then with great defense to get back in the game.
The Dragons used the same formula to overtake the Rams in the fourth quarter, then held on for a stunning 19-14 victory. The win moves the Dragons (10-2) from South Hill into next week's regional championship game in Fredericksburg against James Monroe, which beat York 28-21 in the other semifinal.
Park View trailed 14-13 in the fourth quarter when it came up with its final big play: Brett Cliborne's 54-yard pass to NooNoo Patterson on a fly pattern. Two plays later, Cliborne scored on a 1-yard keeper to give the Dragons the 19-14 lead with 6 minutes, 54 seconds remaining in the game.
The Rams (9-2) had a final shot at avoiding the upset when quarterback Brendan McGinty passed to tight end Parker Kindley over the middle for a 47-yard gain to the Dragons' 12 with 2:41 remaining. But a mistake-laden final three quarters -- which included 12 penalties for 106 yards for the Rams -- ended with three disastrous plays.
After the Dragons dropped the Rams for losses on consecutive plays, McGinty was forced to throw the ball up for grabs under heavy pressure. Geo Feggins intercepted at the 15 for the Dragons to clinch the victory.
It was a stunning turn of events after Lafayette appeared poised to turn the game into a rout early, opening with two impressive possessions in taking a 14-0 lead. After forcing a Park View punt, the Rams drove 84 yards on seven running plays behind their rugged offensive line.
Jahlil Green carried three times on the opening drive for 63 yards, putting the Rams on the board with a 32-yard touchdown run on which he juked past two would-be tacklers.
The Rams needed only five plays to go 79 yards on their second possession, with Jacob Braeutigam breaking 65 yards through a big hole to set up McGinty's 2-yard keeper that made it 14-0.
The Dragons quickly ended the notion of a first-half runaway, as Terrie Pettus ran 58 yards on a sweep left to cut the Rams' lead to 14-7 late in the first quarter. Feggins' 58-yard touchdown run on a faked punt pulled the Dragons to within 14-13 with 7:10 left in the first half. Peter Hurst blocked the point-after try to keep the Rams in the lead.
But Green (14 carries, 107 yards) sustained what appeared to be an ankle injury late in the first half, and would carry only twice in the second half, further slowing the Rams' momentum.
The Dragons, who celebrated wildly at the final whistle, probably felt little sympathy because they played without leading rusher Jason Baskerville (794 yards, eight TDs), who missed the game with a shoulder injury.
PARK VIEW 19, LAFAYETTE 14
Park View 7;6;0;6 - 19
Lafayette 14;0;0;0 - 14
Lafayette: Green 32 run (Webb kick), 6:00
Lafayette: McGinty 2 run (Webb kick), 2:10
Park View: Pettus 58 run (Newton kick), 1:11
Park View: Feggins 58 run (kick blocked), 7:10
Park View: Cliborne 1 run (pass failed), 6:54
First downs 8;15
Passing yards 98;62
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