Football: Lafayette Defense Steps Up Late to Rout Heritage is your source for free news and information in Williamsburg, James City & York Counties.

Joe Kraegenbrink pulls along a Heritage defender during the Group 4A East playoff game Friday night at Wanner Stadium. (Nicole Trifone/WYDaily)

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For one of the first times all season, Lafayette's football team appeared at risk of losing.

Late in the third quarter, Heritage held the momentum in its favor when it tied the game at 13-13 and had the Rams facing a third-and-long from near midfield.

However, a 40-yard halfback pass by Caleb Kraegenbrink to Hezekiah Grimsley caught the Heritage defense off guard and sparked a 21-0 run by the Rams over a three-minute span.

The offensive outburst helped lead Lafayette to a 41-13 win over the Hurricanes at home during the second round of the Group 4A state tournament.

Lafayette's defense started strong, forcing Heritage into back-to-back three-and-outs to open the first quarter.

On Lafayette's second drive of the game, Joeseph Kraegenbrink opened the scoring with a 7-yard touchdown run with 4:11 left in the first quarter.

Leading 7-0, Lafayette's defense came up with another stop and forced Heritage to punt. On a drive that started with 2:56 left in the first quarter, the Rams strung together a 16-play drive that resulted with a turnover on downs at the Heritage 8-yard line.

On their ensuing drive, the Hurricanes responded with a long drive that nearly took the remainder of the first half. With the Heritage offense stagnating thus far, an 11-yard scramble by quarterback Jeremiah Boyd sparked a 19-play, 92-yard drive that ended with a 3-yard touchdown run by Tra'sean Shackleford with 37 seconds left in the first half.

The Rams blocked Heritage's extra-point attempt to hold a narrow 7-6 halftime advantage.

After a slow first half from both teams, the points began pile up starting in the third quarter. The Rams put up points on their opening drive of the second half despite a pair of fumbles, both recovered by Lafayette. On the 10th play of the drive, Caleb Kraegenbrink took a handoff to the right for a 9-yard touchdown.

Heritage responded with a touchdown on its ensuing drive, which was capped off by a 14-yard touchdown by Shackleford, his second of the game. The touchdown tied the game at 13-13.

On Lafayette's next drive, the Rams faced a third-and-long from near midfield that was converted on a 40-yard halfback pass by Caleb Kraegenbrink.

"I don't throw very often, but the safety was creeping up when we went unbalanced," said Lafayette Coach Andy Linn. "I figured we had a chance to run by him, and Caleb threw a great pass. It was perfect."

The pass seemed to take the air out of Heritage's sails as the Rams polished off the drive with a 9-yard touchdown run by Caleb Kraegenbrink to go up 19-13 on the Hurricanes.

Lafayette's defense proceeded to take over the game with a lead in hand. Lafayette's Tristan Packer recovered a fumble caused by Liam Walter. Packer returned the fumbled 67 yards to put the Rams up 27-13.

Two plays into Heritage's next drive, Tyrek Graham picked off Boyd for a 32-yard interception return. An extra point by Grant Horne gave Lafayette a commanding 34-13 lead with 11:53 left in the game.

A 77-yard touchdown pass from Cheyton Pine to Grimsley with 5:01 left in the game put the finishing touches on what was — for the most part — a strong performance from the Rams.

Linn was concerned about Lafayette's 11 penalties for 109 yards, but was ultimately happy to advance to the next round where the Rams (12-0) will visit Courtland.

"It doesn't matter who you play, you have to take care of yourself," he said. "If we play like we have the past two weeks, we've got a chance. There's no doubt."

Heritage: 0 6 7 0 — 13
Lafayette: 7 0 20 14 — 41

First Quarter

L: J. Kraegenbrink 7 run (Horne kick), 7-0

Second Quarter

H: Shackleford 3 run (kick blocked), 7-6

Third Quarter

L: C. Kraegenbrink 9 run (kick missed), 13-6
H: Shackleford 14 run (Greene kick), 13-13
L: C. Kraegenbrink 9 run (pass failed), 19-13
L: Packer 67 fumble return (J. Kraegenbrink pass from Pine), 27-13

Fourth Quarter

L: Graham 32 interception return (Horne kick), 34-13
L: Grimsley 77 pass from Pine (Horne kick), 41-13

Heritage; Lafayette

First downs: 16; 17
Rushes-yards: 31-192; 43-239
Comp-att-int: 7-23-1; 5-11-1
Passing yards: 74; 146
Fumbles-lost: 2-1; 3-1
Penalties-yards: 7-34; 11-109

Heritage: Tra'sean Shackleford (15 car, 76 yards, 2 TDs), Jeremiah Boyd (7-23, 86 yards, INT, 7 car, 97 yards)
Lafayette: Caleb Kraegenbrink (19 car, 97 yards, 2 TDs, 1-1, 40 yards), Hezekiah Grimsley (4 rec, 130 yards, TD), Cheyton Pine (4-10, 106 yards, TD, 6 car, 38 yards)