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On Oct. 16, 1993, No. 1-ranked Tabb lost a 7-6 regular season football game to Nansemond River.
The loss snapped a 27-game Bay Rivers District win streak for the Tigers that spanned four seasons — a record that has remained untouched until now.
When Lafayette defeated Jamestown 66-21 last week, the Rams tied Tabb’s Bay Rivers District win streak record and further cemented themselves in district lore.
On Thursday, Lafayette will host the York Falcons with a chance to break Tabb’s long-standing district win streak record.
Since Coach Andy Linn took over the program in 2011, the Rams have amassed a record of 45-7 and 36-3 in Bay Rivers District play. Since a 34-27 loss to Smithfield in 2012 — 27 games ago — the Rams have been perfect in the Bay Rivers District.
Linn attributes Lafayette’s success over the years to the “solid” players the program has had over the years. While the program has had its share of “star” players, most of the players in the program have simply worked hard and bought into the system Linn put in place, he said.
Linn’s system is based around a Wing-T offense and a smothering defense that has caused havoc for opponents in the Bay Rivers District.
Being on top of the district for so long, Linn said he feels like the team has a target on its back every game from teams looking to spring a major upset.
“We talk about that a lot as a coaching staff. We watch film every week and we know we’ll see something on Friday night that we never saw on film, because everyone saves their real good shots for Lafayette,” Linn said. “It really kind of helps us focus.”
Even though the Bay Rivers District is perhaps not the strongest in the state, Linn does not think the overall strength of the district should diminish his team’s achievements over the past three seasons.
“A lot of people will say the Bay Rivers District isn’t very strong, but I don’t care what district you’re in. Every district has its top feeders and its bottom feeders,” Linn said. “To be able to win 27 games in your district with teams that know you and know what you’re going to do is impressive.”
While the streak is being talked about by the press, Linn has refused to talk about it with his players. Both Linn and his players have their eyes on a bigger prize — an elusive state championship.
Keeping a head down, push forward mentality is something Linn has preached for years. For Lafayette football, the most important game is always the next one on the schedule.
Former players have echoed Linn’s sentiments. Coleman Goad, an offensive lineman who graduated from Lafayette last season, said breaking the win-streak record would be “huge,” but is not what matters in the scope of the season.
“The main goal is to win the state championship, something we almost did last year. After last year, they know they can reach that level and everyone’s going to do the best they can do in that regard,” Goad said. “Little records here and there are nice, but it’s not something you worry about in the long run I think.”
Schekel Wallace, a fullback and linebacker for Lafayette who graduated in 2014, said he does not think the current Lafayette team is paying too much attention to breaking the record.
“They’re just worried about winning the game and going on with the rest of the season,” Wallace said. “You’re not looking forward to the playoffs or state championship. If you worry too much about down the road, you might not make it there.”
It’s that very mentality — staying focused on the bigger picture — that has allowed Lafayette to remain the dominant force in the Bay Rivers District, Linn. It’s the mentality that led them to the state championship game last season. And if everything goes according to plan, it’s the mentality that will allow them to break Tabb’s win streak record Thursday.