Noah Cook’s spirit carried the Lafayette Lancers football team to higher ground on Friday night at Eureka High School.
Cook, a sophomore lineman on the Lafayette junior varsity football team passed away Thursday morning and the Lancers played with heavy hearts. But that did not stop the club from honoring their teammate as they dedicated the game to his memory.
Playing on skill, heart and a ton of emotion, the Lancers shocked favored Eureka 40-35 in a Class 6, District 1 semifinal.
“The day that Noah died we kind of had a get-together and a team meeting and we kind of separated wins and loses,” Brian Boyd said. “But we all brought it back together with him and it’s a magical thing as you can see.”
Lafayette (6-5) which lost to Eureka 17-15 back on Aug. 22, moves on to face Kirkwood next Friday for the District 1 championship.
Eureka saw its season end at 8-2.
Eureka jumped out to a 13-0 lead thanks to an 11-yard touchdown pass from Andy Coulter to Brock Geisz and 1-yard touchdown run from Mike Erutti.
After struggling on its first two drives, Lafayette’s offense heated up as the Lancers scored two touchdowns in just over three minutes midway through the first quarter.
Cam Scales connected with his brother Brendan Scales on a dazzling 66-yard catch and run for the TD and then on the Lancers next series, Cam connected with Boyd on a 44-yard pass that was tipped and snared in the end zone by Boyd for the score and a 14-13 lead.
“The offense just did great,” Boyd said. “We worked the ball around and all the receivers got touches.”
Another Cam Scales to Brendan Scales touchdown pass for 29 yards made it 21-14, but Eureka answered with Chaun Smith’s 50-yard punt return for a score that brought the game even at 21 all.
Lafayette came back down the field just before the break and retook the lead on a 32-yard field goal from Jake Reynolds.
The high-octane passing offense continued in the third quarter as Eureka scored on 34-yard strike from Coulter to Cam Nesbet to go ahead.
Three minutes, 20 seconds later, the Lancers answered via the air as Scales rolled our right and fired a 51-yard bomb to Boyd for a touchdown.
Lafayette got a 37-yard field from Reynolds to start the fourth quarter and then with 3:20 left, Cam found Adam Cook open and Cook raced 25 yards for the touchdown and a 40-28 cushion with 3:20 left. Scales finished the night with four touchdown passes.
Eureka managed a final touchdown on a Stephen Erutti 3-yard run with 1:31 left but it was Lafayette that would be moving on as Lancers coach Boyd Manne reflected on the past 48 hours the team had been through.
“We had a tragedy on Thursday. We lost one of our sophomore football players, one of our football family. It’s been a tough 48 hours and I’m just really, really proud of how our kids responded and showed support for one another with the passing of Noah Cook,” Manne said. “They have really rallied around his brother, Adam, and each other, and I can’t say enough about the things the kids have done this week and the year. They have just gotten better every week.”
In other District games of interest played on Friday, CBC blanked Francis Howell North 45-0, Fort Zumwalt East edged Parkway Central 31-30, Fort Zumwalt North shut out Parkway North 29-0, Fort Zumwalt West fell to Jefferson City 42-28, and Francis Howell blasted Blue Springs South 41-7.