Vyshonn Daniel wasn't perfect on Friday night, but he was darn sure close enough.
LaFayette's senior quarterback connected on his final 16 attempts of the game, throwing his last incomplete pass midway through the opening quarter. He finished the game 18-of-20 for 291 yards and three touchdowns in the Ramblers' 35-0 win over Gordon Lee in Chickamauga.
"We've just worked hard over the summer," Daniel explained. "We worked hard in the weight room and we've got the right mindset. Coach (Paul) Ellis is a great coach. All we think about now is winning. We're not thinking about anything else that anyone is saying. We're just focused on this season and this group that we have. We just have to thank Coach Ellis and all the other coaches on the staff."
In three games this season, Daniel is 38-of-52 in the air (73 percent) for 638 yards and six touchdowns against just one interception, which came in Week 1.
"I can't take all the credit," Daniel said. "My receivers are great and they aren't dropping anything. The plays and the routes are amazing and I think the game is slowing down a little for me too. Hopefully we have bigger things coming our way."
"We lined up and threw it a little more tonight, but that's what Gordon Lee was giving us," Ellis said. "Those little fast screens are kind of like runs for us, but I'm just super proud of the kids. It's because of all the hard work they have put in and the work the other coaches have put in. I'm definitely the weak link and I mean that."
After a feeling out process, LaFayette got a fumble recovery by Nathan Hornung near midfield. Three plays later, Daniel dropped back and found Austin Rodgers three steps behind the secondary on a post pattern for a 51-yard touchdown. The first of five extra points by Max Studdard made it 7-0.
Another Gordon Lee fumble four plays later was recovered by Landon Rayburn and the Ramblers went to work again near midfield. This time it took just seven plays to cover the 53 yards before Daniel hit a wide-open Rogers on a slant pass for a 24-yard score and a 14-0 lead on the first play of the second quarter.
LaFayette would make it 21-0 on its next possession as Daniel went 3-for-3 for 71 yards on the drive before running back Alan Hu pushed the pile the final six yards for the score.
The Ramblers would tack on two more scores in the second half.
An electrifying 39-yard Jalen Suttle run highlighted a backbreaking 12-play, 97-yard march that concluded with a 1-yard plunge by Hu. Xavier Priddy recovered the Trojans' third lost fumble of the game in the fourth quarter to set up a 17-yard TD catch by Tyrese Marsh with 4:15 to play.
Of course just one touchdown would have been sufficient on Friday because the Rambler defense pitched its first shutout since 2015.
Gordon Lee's best chance to score came late in the second quarter as they used a roughing-the-passer penalty to move the ball inside the LaFayette 30. But LaFayette would get a third-down sack by Jack Martin and heavy pressure on fourth down forced an incomplete pass to quell the threat.
"I thought we had a little bend-but-don't-break mentality, but at times I thought we really dominated," Ellis continued. "What really helped us is that we caused several turnovers. I'm super proud of that and of our effort. We're going to enjoy (this win) until Monday and then get ready for Christian Heritage, but I think we're starting to get our kids to believe that they belong and that they deserve to win. Hopefully we can continue that."
Daniel completed his 18 passes to six different receivers. Rodgers was the leader with 103 yards on six catches, all in the first half. Marsh finished with 71 yards on four catches, while Hu had 59 yards on three catches out of the backfield. Suttle led the Ramblers with 65 yards on four rushes as LaFayette finished the game with 415 yards of total offense.
Tucker Miller was 7-of-11 for 73 yards passing for the Trojans and added 31 yards on 13 tough carries. However, Gordon Lee was held to 42 total yards on the ground and just 115 total yards for the game. Coleby Casteel was the leading receiver with 29 yards on two catches.
LaFayette (3-0) will look to go 4-0 for the first time since 1991 next Friday as they play host to the improved Lions. Meanwhile, Gordon Lee (1-2) will take a week off to regroup before traveling to Darlington on Sept. 14 to start Region 6-A North play.