And they have their defense to thank for it.
Clinging to a precarious one-touchdown lead, the Trojans’ defense rose up and stopped the LaFayette three times deep in Gordon Lee territory in the second half to preserve a 14-6 win.
The win moved the Trojans back to .500 (3-3 overall), and dropped the Ramblers to 2-4.
“The defense has gotten us to where we’re at now,” GLMS head coach Tony McAllister said. “We kind of knew where (LaFayette) wanted to go with the ball, so it was nothing more than our kids stepping up and wanting it. We knew that there’s a playoff spot to be had, and we took another step toward getting it tonight.”
And while there were plenty of defensive heroes for the Trojans, perhaps none came up bigger than the smallest kid on the field.
Defensive back Noah Peterson, who broke up a long pass in the first quarter, came up huge on the Ramblers’ final possession. Peterson broke up another deep ball on third down from the Gordon Lee 30, and then one snap later, stopped LMS receiver Bryson Giddy two yards short of a first down on what turned out to be LaFayette’s final play of the game.
“Saying Noah is 4-foot-11 might even be giving him an inch or two, but he’s one of our toughest players and he’s got a heart too big for his body,” McAllister explained. “He started the season on defense, but got pulled off for a couple of miscues earlier in the year. He never got upset or griped about it, but one day during practice, he came up to me and asked what he needed to do to get back on defense.
“He had a great week of practice this week, doing what he needed to do, and he came out and really played great.”
Gordon Lee scored on its first two possessions of the game with Drew Cobb finding the end zone on runs of 2 and 45 yards. He also added a two-point conversion to give his team a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter.
LaFayette would finally get on the board on their second possession, taking advantage of a 15-yard facemask penalty against the Trojans to drive 55 yards in five plays before KaDarrin Ramsey scored from four yards out. The Ramblers were stopped on the conversion try.
LaFayette would drive into Gordon Lee territory on their final three possessions of the game, but were denied each time.
The Trojans stopped the Ramblers four times on first-and-goal from the 6-yard line late in the third quarter, and Evan Clayton intercepted a Logan Teasley pass at the Gordon Lee 15 after a fumble gave the Ramblers outstanding field position early in the fourth quarter.
LaFayette would get one final crack from its own 36 with 3:19 to play, and two big runs by Ramsey moved the ball inside the Gordon Lee 30. But a fumble would back up the Ramblers up five yards and force them to go to the air, setting up Peterson’s late-game heroics with just over a minute left to play.
Gordon Lee rushed 42 times for 207 yards with Cobb accounting for more than half of that total (20 rushes for 138 yards). Caleb Butcher picked up 48 tough yards on 14 carries.
For LaFayette, Ramsey ran 18 times for 129 yards, but the rest of the Rambler offense managed just 21 yards, 16 through the air on 3-of-5 passing.
In Thursday afternoon’s other game involving Walker County teams, Rossville moved to 5-1 with a 46-12 win over Chattanooga Valley, who dropped to 2-4.
The NGAC regular season will conclude next Thursday. Lakeview will play at LaFayette, Chattanooga Valley will host Heritage, and Rossville will entertain Gordon Lee.