Busy week for Cougars
By Kevin Eckleberry
LAGRANGE – It was a busy, and productive week for the Lafayette Christian School Cougars.
The Cougars held an over-night camp at the school last week, and the players spent nearly 20 hours on the field as they get ready for a new season that begins in less than three weeks.
The players spent the night at the school from Monday to Thursday night, and the camp ended with an intra-squad scrimmage on Friday morning.
“It’s a real compact, intense way to install all the things we need to install,” Lafayette Christian head coach Nate Shaw said. “There’s always changes you’re going to make. We changed our offense in this offseason, so we had an installation period in the spring, and we’ve just expanded that installation through camp.”
The players had seven practice sessions during the week, leading up to Friday’s scrimmage.
“We’re able to do in four and a half days, what it would otherwise take us two weeks to do,” Shaw said. “And we still have that two-week period (before the first game).”
Shaw is back for his third season as the Cougars’ head coach, and his two primary assistants are Nick Nehring and Kevin Payne.
Nehring, who was the head coach before Shaw inherited that position, will be the offensive coordinator, and Payne is the defensive coordinator.
A newcomer to the staff this season is Jesse Stermer, and he got an opportunity to work closely with the players last week.
“He wanted to come back and give back to the program,” Shaw said of Stermer. “He played on the first winning season we had, the 2012 season.”
The program has come a long way since Stermer graduated.
The Cougars have made it to the Georgia Independent Christian Athletic Association eight-man state playoffs for four straight years, and they won a state title in 2015.
Shaw said a big difference now is how many of the players come into the varsity program already familiar with the sport.
A lot of the credit for that goes to a middle-school program that is thriving and is helping prepare the players for varsity football.
“There’s only one kid on a roster of 22 that hasn’t played before,” Shaw said. “And there’s some peer mentoring with that as well.”
The Cougars will return to their normal once-a-day practice schedule today, and they’ll open their season on Aug. 18 at Solid Rock.