Tyler Fenwick | For the Times-Post
LAPEL — Before Lapel took the field against Shenandoah on Friday, Nov. 3, for a chance to clinch its first sectional title since 2014, head coach Tim Miller reminded his team how badly they were beaten by the Raiders earlier this season.
By the end of it, with a 34-20 win and the fourth sectional championship in program history, it was the Raiders who looked outmatched.
Through the first two possessions, it looked like Lapel (9-3) was in for another lopsided loss.
Shenandoah (9-3) used 14 plays on its opening drive to take a 7-0 lead, and then the Bulldogs were forced to punt after three plays.
But six plays into Shenandoah’s next drive, senior Mason Gilley intercepted quarterback Peyton Starks and returned it for a touchdown to put the game at 7-7.
It was all Lapel from there.
“The pick-six was a big play that kind of got the tone set for the game,” Miller said.
Neither team found the end zone again in the first quarter, but the Bulldogs used an explosive second quarter to take a 27-7 lead into halftime.
That was already more than Lapel managed in its 53-20 earlier loss to Shenandoah.
All three of senior quarterback Levi Frazier’s touchdowns came in the second quarter.
He connected with senior wide receiver Preston Scott for a 14-yard score on a shovel pass.
Following a failed fourth-down attempt by the Raiders, Frazier found sophomore wide receiver Charlie Prough for an 18-yard score.
Then, with 18 seconds left in the half, he hooked up with junior receiver Justin Engle for a 52-yard touchdown.
Frazier finished the night 11-of-16 passing for 181 yards.
“Levi played exactly how he needed to play,” Miller said.
Also experiencing a dramatic turnaround from the first meeting was the defense.
Shenandoah entered Friday’s game averaging 281 yards rushing, but the Bulldogs cut that to 106 yards on 40 carries.
Meanwhile, the Raiders weren’t able to compensate through the air as Starks tossed three interceptions and completed less than 50 percent of his passes.
“Our defense was lights-out all night,” said Miller, who added that both the defensive and offensive lines took control up front.
Up next for Lapel is the regional championship against unbeaten Eastbrook (12-0). The last time the Panthers lost was in last year’s state final.
“They’re a team to rate yourself against in 2A,” Miller said. “They play hard, that’s for sure, and they’re very good at what they do.”
Kickoff for that game is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 10, at Eastbrook, 560 S. County Road 900E, Marion.