The rebuilding Lafayette Christian Cougars are going to the state playoffs.
In a must-win scenario, LCS wrapped up a playoff berth on Friday night with a 49-8 victory over Twiggs Academy in region play at the Cougars field. The football game was virtually over by halftime as Lafayette Christian sprinted to a 42-0 lead.
Cougars head coach Nate Shaw was all smiles during and after the game.
“Our team showed up. We came out firing, and we extended the careers of our seniors. Josh Shepherd was dominant on the defensive line. He was imposing and difficult to block,” Shaw said of the Cougars senior defensive end.
Lafayette Christian, now 4-5 on the year, scored on defense and special teams. The Cougars got a safety from senior noseguard Gary Johnson. Lafayette Christian also scored on sophomore Mitch Crandall’s 41-yard punt return for a touchdown in the third quarter.
The Cougars were in total control of the line of scrimmage. Lafayette Christian rushed for 267 yards against the Trojans. The LCS team had five rushing touchdowns in the game, with two of those coming from senior running back Nick Spittler. He scored on an 18-yard play and a 2-yard run, both of which came in the second period.
Lafayette Christian junior fullback Jacob Lueken also barreled into the endzone on a pair of 10-yard runs. Cougar quarterback Landon Whitley was running wild as well. Whitley scored on a 36-yard burst in the second quarter.
Whitley, a junior, also hit Cougar wide receiver Avery Staples with a 19-yard touchdown pass in the second period of play.
Lafayette Christian will tentatively play Harvester Christian this Friday in the first round of the Georgia Independent Christian Athletic Association state playoffs in Douglasville. The game is expected to start at 7:30 p.m. Troup High has also qualified for the state playoffs in public school football. On Friday night, the Tigers won their eighth consecutive game as they clocked Central Carrollton, 41-0.
The 8th-ranked Troup High Tigers are 8-1 overall and 5-0 in Region 5-AAAA. Central Carrollton, a playoff team just one season ago, now has a record of 0-9. The Lions are 0-5 in the region.
Central Carrollton was no match for Troup High School. The Tigers almost need to pinch themselves to make sure all of this is real. Coach Tanner Glisson is working miracles at THS. Troup was a bottom-dwelling 1-9 only last year.
But not so much this year. These Tigers are different.
“We’re building confidence. We’re mentally tough, and winning is contagious. We were good in all phases (against Central Carrollton). The kids were working hard,” said Glisson.
Troup junior quarterback Montez Crowe still has a hot hand. Crowe threw two more touchdown passes in the game at Central Carrollton. Senior split end Ken Truitt caught a 25-yard touchdown pass in the first period. Tiger junior tight end Kenly Bridwell also corraled a 15-yard touchdown pass.
Senior halfback Camren Russell scored as well for Troup on a 7-yard touchdown run. The Troup High defense scored in the fourth quarter, too, on a 40-yard interception return.
The Tigers will play No. 1-ranked Cartersville for the Region 5-AAAA championship this Friday in Cartersville. The Hurricanes are undefeated at 9-0. Cartersville is tied with Troup High for first place in the region. Both the Tigers and Hurricanes have identical records of 5-0 in the region.
Troup doesn’t plan on being intimidated as it prepares for the top-ranked Hurricanes. “We need to be focused. We’re not going to need a Superman effort,” said Glisson. “Everyone wants to be a Tiger.”
The Troup-Cartersville region clash will begin at 7:30 p.m.
Chris Fernsler Sports Writer