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Thomas Jefferson Gets Back on Track with 42-3 Win at Laurel Highlands

Written by: on Saturday, October 9th, 2021

 

By Collin Rhodes

The Thomas Jefferson Jaguars visited the Laurel Highlands Mustangs Oct. 8 in a matchup that saw both teams entering the game after suffering a loss to Belle Vernon. Thomas Jefferson lost on Sept. 24 before their bye week, and Laurel Highlands lost Oct. 1.

The game was expected to be a good one with the 5-1 Mustangs led by four-star junior quarterback Rodney Gallagher against the 3-1 Jaguars led by senior quarterback Joseph Lekse. However, it was anything but close.

Thomas Jefferson scored on the first play of the game on a 78-yard touchdown pass by Lekse to sophomore wide receiver Sean Sullivan, taking the lead 7-0. Laurel Highlands would get a field goal on their first possession, but could not score the rest of the game. Lekse and sophomore running back Elias Lippincott spearheaded the Jaguars to a 42-3 win over the Mustangs.

For Thomas Jefferson, everything was going right. Lekse finished the game nine of 13 passing for 213 yards and two touchdowns along with his nine rushes for 115 yards and three touchdowns on the ground. Lippincott was right behind him with 16 rushes for 113 yards and one touchdown of his own.

Defensively for Thomas Jefferson, they had as much success as the offense. They continuously pressured Gallagher, forcing him out of the pocket almost every play and even forcing a turnover with an interception as well as several turnovers on downs.

Gallagher was electric at times but was silenced for most of the game. He went 10 for 26 passing with 127 yards and an interception as well as eight rushes for 83 yards. He almost got an interception on the defensive side of the ball, but he unfortunately dropped it.

“We had to contain [Gallagher],” the Thomas Jefferson head coach said. “We knew how explosive he was, and we saw it on the field. We didn’t do a great job at it at times, other times we were able to bottle him up.”

“I think it was a great response after a hard loss two weeks ago,” Lekse said. “Coming out here and getting a big win and getting back on track for the future of the season.”

Thomas Jefferson (4-1) will be back home next week on Oct. 15 against the Ringgold Rams (3-4) in a conference game. Laurel Highlands (5-2) will look to bounce back from two blowout losses in a row when they host the McKeesport Tigers (6-1) Oct. 15. Both games are at 7 p.m.

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