Notebook: Football Rights the Ship With Trouncing of Lafayette

Back on Track
Timothy R. O'Meara

Behind strong performances from junior running back Charlie Booker, the special teams unit, and the defensive line, the Crimson righted the ship with a 38-10 win against Lafayette.

After losing to Cornell last week, Harvard football needed to make a statement. Against Lafayette (2-5, 2-0 Patriot) on Saturday, the Crimson did just that.

In a 38-10 victory, Harvard (3-2, 1-1 Ivy) dominated the ground game and special teams play. The win gives the Crimson momentum heading into five straight games against Ancient Eight rivals.

“We challenged our kids, and they responded,” Harvard coach Tim Murphy said. “They have a lot of pride and a lot of character—they responded.”


Junior running back Charlie Booker has been carrying teams since 2014, when he led Cypress Ranch High School to the Texas state title game.


The Mustangs started 1-2 that year, but Booker captained the 6A program to 12 consecutive wins. The run ended in AT&T Stadium, when Cypress Ranch fell despite 115 rushing yards and from Booker.

While the Mustangs lost the game, Booker won something else—Murphy’s attention.

“I remember very vividly watching his state championship game,” Murphy said. “He’s playing against guys that are going to the SEC. He’s playing against guys that are going to the Big 12…. He just pounded it out.”

Last Saturday, the 5’9” Booker delivered another highlight performance, pummeling Lafayette for 159 yards and a score on 23 carries. As a team, the Crimson rushed for 296 yards.

Freshman running back Aaron Shampklin complemented Booker with 82 yards on 22 carriers. This two-back strategy has worked all season. Booker is averaging 99 yards per game, while Shampklin adds 49. The two have combined for seven touchdowns and one fumble.

On Saturday, rushing productivity extended beyond the backs. As a high school senior, quarterback Jake Smith ran for 24 touchdowns on 9.6 yards per carry. Now a Harvard freshman, Smith notched his first college score in the fourth quarter.

The offensive line has played a critical role in rushing success. Sophomore Liam Shanahan, junior Matt Jones, junior Tim O’Brien, senior Daniel Laden, and junior Ben Shoults have emerged as starters. That contingent opened holes for Booker and others all day long.


Leopards kicker Jeffrey Kordenbrock had a plan.

Early in the first half, the freshman had watched junior wide receiver Justice Shelton-Mosley race 85 yards for a punt-return touchdown. Now, with the second half about to start, Kordenbrock decided to loft the ball away from Shelton-Mosley.


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