Francis Howell stops Lafayette, makes first trip to state
By: Jonathan Duncan
The 2012 Francis Howell football team is now going where no Howell team has been before.
Howell, led by defensive stalwarts Calvin Munson and Jarrett Franklin and workhorse running back Donte Harrell, utilized its rugged defense, and steady running from Harrell to defeat previously unbeaten Lafayette 17-6 in a Class 6 semifinal Friday night at Francis Howell.
Howell, (12-1) will make its first trip to the Edward Jones Dome next Saturday (Nov. 24) and face Blue Springs for the Missouri Class 6 championship at 5:30 p.m.
“Our kids are a great group and I’m unbelievably proud of them for how they played tonight,” Howell coach Bryan Koch said. “We had our ups and our downs and tonight was the same way.”
The Vikings used the always steady scheme of leaning on its hard-hitting defense, solid running game, and solid kicking game to give Lafayette problems.
Munson and Franklin led the way for the Howell defense combining for 22 tackles on the night.
“Honestly, I cannot find the words to describe how good that this feels right now,” Munson said. I’ve been dreaming of this moment ever since I put on pads. Since I was a little kid playing football, I’ve been dreaming of this moment.”
Lafayette(12-1), which last made the semifinals in 1987, saw its perfect season come to a grinding halt.
“Offensive we didn’t make plays when we needed to,” Lafayette coach Boyd Manne said. “We had a hard time running the ball early in the game. Our defense was out there for a long time and they did a great job the whole night.”
A scoreless first quarter gave way to Howell taking a 10-0 lead into the halftime break.
Viking kicker Zac Perkins came up short on a 32-yard attempt midway through the first quarter but rebounded nicely in the second quarter with a school-record 50-yard field, goal putting Howell ahead just six seconds into the second quarter.
After getting fired up by the Perkins field goal, the Vikings scored on their next drive as Mike Glass hit Alec Montgomery for a 30-yard scoring pass making it 10-0 with 8:15 left in the first half.
A nifty scoop catch and run off a swing pass by Harrell for a 41-yard touchdown gave the Vikings a 17-0 lead with 9:17 left.
Harrell led the Vikings offense with 136 yards rushing while Glass threw for 152 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.
Lafayette answered the Howell score with a 63-yard pass from Evan Scales to John Voit with 9:02 left but the extra point was blocked by Howell’s Brian Land and the Lancers were down 17-6.
Lafayette had three more series in the final quarter, but timely fumble recoveries by Franklin and A. J. Jones snuffed out the Lancers chances for a comeback.