By Tyler Fenwick
For The Times-Post
ALEXANDRIA — For the third time in the last four seasons, the Lapel Bulldogs will play for a sectional football championship after putting the clamps on the Alexandria-Monroe Tigers in a 31-14 win on Friday, Oct. 27.
With sloppy field conditions, Lapel (8-3) put its focus on defense and running the ball.
For its part, the Bulldogs’ defense limited Alexandria to 78 total yards, and 60 of those came on one play late in the fourth quarter. The Tigers (7-4) were coming off a 56-point performance in their sectional opener.
“Defensively, we just played really well all night,” said head coach Tim Miller, who coached Lapel to its last sectional title in 2014.
Lapel used a duo of seniors in Dawson Phillips and Josiah Hudson in the running game to let the Bulldogs dominate time of possession.
During the first 14½ minutes of the second half, Alexandria had the ball for only 57 seconds.
Phillips led the way with 96 yards on 17 carries, and Hudson added 88 yards on 13 carries. Senior quarterback Levi Frazier was 10 of 15 passing, and his five incompletions were drops, according to Miller.
“We pretty much controlled it from the opening kickoff,” Miller said.
Standing between Lapel and a sectional title is a familiar foe in Shenandoah. The Raiders (9-2) have won six in a row by an average of 40 points. Sandwiched between Shenandoah’s only two losses on the season is a 53-20 win against Lapel.
“It was probably the worst we’ve played in a long, long time,” Miller said.
The Bulldogs turned the ball over six times, including three times in the first three minutes. Frazier and sophomore Cole Alexander combined for four interceptions as Lapel went scoreless in three quarters.
“We need to eliminate those mistakes,” Miller said, “and that’ll go a long way.”
Even if Lapel can protect the football this time around, Shenandoah racked up 267 rushing yards (6.1 per carry) in their first meeting, with three players each rushing for at least 62 yards. The Raiders threw the ball only 11 times, which is right at their season average.
“We’re just gonna have to be on our game,” Miller said.
The last time Lapel beat Shenandoah was in 2006, when the Bulldogs won 12-6. Their sectional final matchup has a scheduled kickoff time of 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 3, at Shenandoah.