By Tyler Fenwick
SHARPSVILLE — Most teams in any sport would prefer to play at home in front of their fans, but Lapel Bulldogs football players don’t seem to mind traveling, as they continued their road dominance with a 42-20 win against Tri-Central on Friday, Oct. 6.
With the win, Lapel is 4-0 on the road and 5-3 overall. The Bulldogs have won three of their last four games.
“We definitely have been playing well on the road,” head coach Tim Miller said. “Better than at home. I guess there’s less distractions.”
The Bulldogs used an explosive second quarter to take a 28-0 lead into half time, which allowed the coaching staff to insert some backups and avoid costly injuries. Heading into the game, Lapel was without its two leading receivers, senior Preston Scott and junior Connor Gill.
In their absence, sophomore Charlie Prough caught five passes for 37 yards. Senior Josiah Hudson had the lone receiving touchdown and finished with two catches for 30 yards.
The Bulldogs also were playing without two offensive linemen, but Miller said he anticipates having everyone back in the next week or two, hopefully in time for the first round of sectional play on Oct. 20 against Winchester.
Senior quarterback Levi Frazier had been throwing for 238 yards per game, but against Tri-Central he was asked to throw the ball only 12 times. He finished the night with nine completions for 144 yards and a touchdown.
With second- and third-string players tasked with putting the game away in the second half, Miller said he was especially impressed with the play of his backup quarterbacks, including sophomore Cole Alexander, who completed 3 of 5 passes for 21 yards, and freshman Drew Darlington, who completed his first and only pass attempt of the season.
As the Bulldogs built a sizeable lead, the running game benefited. Junior Sparky Manis rushed for 125 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries. Leading rusher senior Dawson Phillips also added a pair of scores, improving his team-high total to eight, and sophomore Cole Alexander scored his second touchdown of the season.
Lapel averaged 3.2 yards per carry the previous week in a 49-28 loss to Cass, but against Tri-Central the Bulldogs improved to 6.8 yards per carry. This is representative of a larger trend this season for the Bulldogs, who have averaged 6.2 yards in wins and 3.7 in losses.
Lapel will gear up for one more regular season game this Friday, Oct. 13, against Eastern Hancock (5-3), before heading into the postseason.
“This Friday we’ve got our hands full and then we’ll get ready, for sectional play,” Miller said.
Both of those games will be on the road.