Lapel win over Royals ‘exactly what we needed’


LAPEL — They got exactly what they were looking for.
Lapel finished its regular season Friday with a 42-21 victory, at home against a talented Eastern Hancock team.
The win gives the Bulldogs a 7-2 record as they head into postseason play in Class 2A Sectional 36.
“It’s the perfect team to play going into the tournament,” Lapel head coach Tim Miller said. “We always have a competitive game (against Eastern Hancock). Luckily, we’ve come out on top the last couple of times. Having that type of win, second in a row, going in the tournament 7-2, definitely gives you a lot more momentum.”
Similar to its game against the Royals last season, the Bulldogs trailed by a slim margin at the half, then exploded for a convincing victory.
At Eastern Hancock in 2020, Lapel trailed 21-19 at the half before battling back in a 39-21 win.
On Friday, at The Boneyard, Lapel was down 21-20 at the break.
In both Bulldogs wins, running back Tyler Dollar proved why he is one of the state’s top rushers.
On Friday, Dollar finished with 240 rushing yards and three touchdowns. A year ago in Charlottesville, Dollar had 258 yards on 21 carries with two scores.
The 240 yards are a season high for the junior and second 200-plus rushing yards game of the season. He had 220 in a win against Shenandoah on Sept. 3. He’s been close a number of other times, with four other games more than 182 yards.
For the season, Dollar has 1,513 yards, ranking No. 3 in the state. He is just five yards behind second-place Kyle Turanchick of Oak Hill. The leader, Robert Lamar of Clarksville, has 1,789.
“He does what Tyler does. First carry of the second half, he took for a (55-yard) touchdown run,” Miller said. “That kind of got the momentum back. He had another big night, and we were able to throw the ball a little bit, too.”
“It was big and exactly what we needed,” Miller added of Dollar’s long run to start the second half. “The weather projections definitely kept the crowd down, and on top of that we’re going into fall break. It wasn’t our usual atmosphere, and (Dollar’s run) got the energy level back flowing again.”
Quarterback Brennan Stow was 14-of-21 for 169 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He completed balls to six different receivers. He also rushed the ball 12 times for 79 yards and two scores.
Nick Witte had three catches for 56 yards and a touchdown.
Coleton Kadinger had a team-best eight tackles. Charlie Pitcock had two tackles for loss.
Kyle Shelton had six tackles, one for loss and, on offense, 43 rushing yards and 17 receiving yards.
Eastern Hancock dropped to 5-4.
It was the Bulldogs second straight win and a strong performance heading into sectional play Friday at school district rival Frankton (3-6), a program it has beaten 12 straight times.
It’s the third time in the past four years the Bulldogs and Eagles have been drawn as first-round sectional opponents.
The Eagles are coming off a 28-0 win against Alexandria.
Lapel beat Frankton 49-12, at Lapel, early in the season.
“I don’t anticipate our kids overlooking Frankton,” Miller said. “They are still a rival, and there are a lot of familiar faces (being in the same school district). Kids have friends on the other team.”
Plus, with the Bulldogs winning every matchup dating back to 2012, “the kids don’t want to be part of the first group in a long time that loses to them,” Miller added.
A win on Friday will likely put the Bulldogs in a showdown against No. 2 Eastbrook, which is playing Eastern (Greentown) this week. Eastbrook is 8-0 and has won all of its games by 35 points or more and has outscored opponents 407-45.
“(Other than our second half against Heritage Christian), we’re probably playing as well as we have,” Miller said. “We’re running the ball really well. We’ve got the passing game back going the last couple weeks, and that’s going to be big going into the tournament.
“Right now is when you want to be playing your best football. Hopefully we are there.”