The coaches knew the ball was coming Eric Bailey's way, and so did the junior cornerback.
Bailey's 84-yard interception return for atouchdown with just under six minutes to play was the lone score as Burgard defeated Lafayette, 8-0, at John B. Wiley Pavilion on Friday afternoon.
With a near-capacity crowd at the former site of War Memorial Stadium watching two Harvard Cup unbeatens battle to a stalemate, it appeared as though the Violets -- deep in Burgard territory after they blocked a Bulldogs' punt -- would be the first to break through. But even before quarterback David Jones faded back on a third-and-8 at the Burgard 15, the Bulldogs knew what was coming.
"Our offensive coordinator, Alex Jones, he said, 'They're going to throw the ball out into the flat,' " recalled Burgard head coach Ron Pugh. "And he threw it right to him."
Bailey knew it, too.
He kept an eye on Lafayette all-purpose senior Gerrald Baugh, one of the Violets' top players, who fittingly wears uniform No. 1.
"I expected No. 1 to get the ball," said Bailey. "I just saw the ball pop up and just broke for the ball. It was two tough teams -- they're a good team. We knew one play was going to decide that game."
With Jones pressured by the Burgard line -- as he was all evening -- he sought out Baugh but Bailey stepped in front of the pass. Bailey went untouched to the end zone, even looking a bit fatigued as he crossed the goal line.
"I was getting pretty tired," he said.
"We struggled, but we got through it," Bailey said of Burgard's victory, which put it atop the Harvard Cup standings at 3-0. The Bulldogs began the season with a 14-6 win over defending champion McKinley and added a 14-0 blanking of Grover Cleveland last week. While Lafayette fell to 2-1, two teams will have a chance to improve to 3-0 in games today: Hutch-Tech (which plays McKinley at 2 p.m. at All-High Stadium) and 2000 runner-up Seneca (which takes on Grover at 10 a.m. at Riverside).
"This is our third game playing against real good teams," said Pugh. "Lafayette I knew was going to be tough, but I had no idea they were going to be that tough. This was a good game no matter who won. The kids were very resilient. They kept coming back. I'm proud of them. I'm happy for the kids and for the school."
Burgard advanced the ball deep into Lafayette territory twice in the first half, only to fail on fourth-down plays at the Violets' 18 and 6. The Bulldogs got to the Violets' 5 on theirfirst drive of the second half but were stopped short again on a fourth-and-3.
The Violets created their best chance when Vashone Dawson blocked a Bulldog punt from the Burgard 34 that Bruce Shaw recovered at the 17. Three plays later, Bailey stepped in front of Jones' pass.
"It was just a simple mistake," said Lafayette coach Karl Maggiore. "It could have went the other way -- if (Baugh) would have caught it, he would have scored and we would have won the game. It was a good game between two good teams."