Senior leads the way for Cougars

Published 7:52 pm Thursday, August 2, 2018

By kevin eckleberry

Daily News

Now he’s the old guy.

The Lafayette Christian School Cougars were a veteran team heading into the 2015 season, but there was a freshman that the coaches were high on.

His name was Landon Whitley, a talented quarterback who figured to be taking the snaps sooner than later.

That point came midway through the season.

The offense was in need of a spark, so Whitley was plugged in at quarterback, and the Cougars went on to capture the Georgia Independent Christian Athletic Association eight-man state championship.

Flash forward four years, and Whitley’s role has changed dramatically.

He’s no longer the young guy amidst a bevy of veterans.

Whitley is one of the few seniors on a team that is a few weeks away from embarking on a new journey.

Lafayette Christian has played eight-man football throughout its history, but it is making the transition to the 11-man game this season.

Whitley is happy to be a part of the historic season.

“I love it,” he said. “It’s going to be different this year. But we’re going to come in with the same attitude we had last year, and hopefully we can do some good things.”

Whitley will be counted on to produce on the field as he has the previous three years, and he’ll also be a team leader, and that’s a role he’s embracing.

“You’ve got to mentor them, and show them some things, the correct way to do things,” Whitley said. “But they’re doing good. I like our team this year.”

Whitley is a gifted quarterback with the ability to make big plays with his legs, or his throwing arm.

Before the 2017 season, the offense was re-designed to fit what Whitley does best.

It’s a spread offense that allows Whitley and the Cougars’ other skill players to show what they can do.

“I think it fits our personnel,” Whitley said. “We’re more of a speed team, so we’ve altered our offense to fit us.”

Lafayette Christian will play a preseason scrimmage next week before opening the season on Aug. 17 against Central Fellowship.

Last week, the Cougars held their camp at the school. The players practiced twice a day for three days, and they spent the night at the school.

“It was good. We had six practices in three days,” Lafayette Christian head coach Nate Shaw said. “They were leg weary at the end of that. We were productive.”

Shaw added that there were “a lot of schemes, a lot of speed work. We worked on special teams. There were a lot of guys doing a lot of things.”

Shaw said a lot of the players will be going both ways this fall, and that’s partly out of necessity, but mostly it’s to get the best guys on the field.

“You put your best players on the field regardless,” Shaw said. “You see it sometimes guys in the NFL will get snaps on both sides of the ball. That’s what we’re doing here.”