Shocking is an appropriate word to describe this year’s Lafayette Christian football season.
One year after winning the state title in 8-man football, the LCS Cougars find themselves with a 3-5 record. That is startling for a Cougar football program that went 10-3 last year with the state crown included in the Georgia Independent Christian Athletic Association.
The Cougars expected something pretty similar this season. To say the least, they haven’t gotten it. Lafayette Christian has been blown out in a handful of games. And on some other Friday nights this year the Cougars have not measured up at all.
“We’re a young team, and we have a lot of new faces. It can only go up from here. But in our heart we know we still have what it takes,” said Lafayette Christian junior linebacker Avery Staples, who has amassed over 80 tackles this season.
For all that they haven’t done or won, Lafayette Christian still hasn’t thrown in the Blue & White towel. The Cougars have no quitters on their football roster.
“This hasn’t been that great of a season, but we have improved a lot. We’ve been working on our blocking schemes and special teams. We’ve made some turnovers (this year),” said Lafayette Christian sophomore quarterback Landon Whitley.
Despite all the losses, the Cougars still have a chance to make the state playoffs in the GICAA. If Lafayette Christian defeats Twiggs Academy tonight at LCS, the defending state champions would qualify for the state playoffs despite a losing record.
That is why the Cougars have been working so hard this week. Tonight’s critical game will get underway at 7:30 p.m. at the LCS stadium.
“We need to block and play physical,” said Cougars senior wide receiver and linebacker Jonathan Parham.
Suddenly the Cougars have something to play for again. The LCS season isn’t over. Hope is alive, and Lafayette Christian is still kicking. The Cougars feel motivated again. “We can beat this team, and we’ve been working hard,” said Whitley.
The Cougars are not looking past Twiggs Academy and its 0-6 record.
“We aren’t taking anyone for granted,” said Staples.
His mind did wander for at least a minute, however.
“No one wants to see us (in the state playoffs),” said Staples, who transferred to LCS from Central Christian (in Sharpsburg) over the summer.
Josh Shepherd, the Cougars senior defensive end, is expected to play even with his sprained knee. Shepherd is a defensive playmaker at 5foot-11 and 245 pounds.
Potentially coaching in his last game for Lafayette Christian is offensive coordinator Glenn Quiggle. He plans to retire later this year. Quiggle doesn’t want his last game with LCS to be a loss tonight against the Trojans.
The coach wants to make it back to the playoffs as much as the Cougar football players.
“Winning another playoff game would be special, but we have to win our way in. We are going to need to control the line of scrimmage (against Twiggs). We are rebuilding, but we still have high expectations. I feel good. I think we can win,” said Quiggle, the 30-year veteran of the Navy (Desert Storm, Persian Gulf, Mediterranean included).
Chris Fernsler Sports Writer