GUILFORD — Big time players make big time plays and that’s exactly what Lyman Hall’s Shakespeare Rodriguez did on Friday night.
The senior scored a rushing touchdown late in the fourth to give the Trojans their first and only lead of the game and then on the next drive intercepted a pass on the goal line to ice Lyman Hall’s 20-14 win over Guilford.
“If I am being completely honest, I live for those moments,” Rodriguez said. “I want to be that guy that makes those plays and wins the game for everyone.”
Rodriguez’s 4-yard touchdown run with 3:11 left, capped off a seven minute and nine second drive that started at their own 14-yard line.
“It’s what I live for, what I love about the game,” Rodriguez said. “I’m just glad it put us in the position to win the game.”
On the next drive, Guilford went right down the field on a big pass from Aedan McDermott to Nik Orton.
“They executed well, they had a nice long drive that kept us on the field,” Guilford coach Anthony Salvati said.
Later on in the drive Rodriguez jumped up and intercepted a pass with 1:49 left.
“We still had hope, we had a shot at the end there,” Salvati added. “We went down really quick, fought till the end. Just came up short.”
Rodriguez’s big play ability is something that Lyman Hall coach Bill Weyrauch has become accustom to.
“I’m just starting to expect that week in and week out and that’s not fair to do that,” Weyrauch said. “But he does make big plays every game, he’s just an awesome player.
“I knew when that ball was thrown I knew he would get that ball before anyone else.”
With the win Lyman Hall is 4-1 at the midway point.
“We knew that this game was going to be the pivotal point in the season,” Rodriguez said. “We knew that if we won this game, we are going to keep rolling, keep going.”
Rodriguez scored another rushing touchdown earlier in the game.
Guilford’s Charles Walcott scored both touchdowns for the Indians.
The game got chippy and heated at the end of the game and the teams had to be separated and did not shake hands after.
After Rodriguez’s interception and Lyman Hall’s ensuing first down, they lined up in shotgun to kneel the ball. The Guilford players dove at the line to knock the ball out, and hit the knees of Trojans’ players.
“I’m sorry the game ended the way it did,” Weyrauch said. “We were taking a knee, I thought they could have laid off, but maybe I am wrong with that. That’s what could have happened there.”
Salvati said his players didn’t expect them to kneel the ball when they were in shotgun.
“They didn’t expect it, they tried to make a play,” he said.
The next knee the Indians players again dove at the ball and hit the Trojans offensive lineman’s knees, which resulted in players shoving each other and coaches yelling at each other at midfield after the game ended.
“We told them to back off, they got a little heated there and didn’t back off,” Salvati said. “Rightfully so, I can understand why they were upset. From a coaching standpoint that was not anything we had planned on. We already reprimanded them and we’ll be sure to reprimand them again.”
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Lyman Hall’s Shakespeare Rodriguez: The best player for the Trojans stepped up when his team needed him the most.
“I love those plays, I love being that guy,” Rodriguez said after recalling his heroics after the game.