Cougars lose heart-breaker
Published 12:45 am Saturday, November 16, 2019
By ED PUGH
The Lafayette Christian Cougars lost a 19-13 heart-breaker to the Griffin Christian Crusaders in the Georgia Independent Christian Athletic Association state-championship game on a rainy Friday night.
The Cougars had the ball at the end with an opportunity to win it with a touchdown and an extra point, but they lost a fumble with less than a minute remaining in Crusaders’ territory.
Griffin Christian, which scored the go-ahead touchdown with less than three minutes to play, ran out the clock to preserve the victory and earn the state title.
“They played with heart, every time we played, they never gave up,” said Lafayette Christian head coach Billy Bryant. “Even when we got defeated, like tonight the never gave up. Tonight, was one of those nights where the ball didn’t go our way, these guys are going to learn from this and will come back next year stronger.”
As would be expected in the rainy condition, the game started off a little sloppy with both teams trading turnovers into the first three minutes of the game.
As the rain settled so did the Cougars, capping off a drive with a 1-yard touchdown plunge by quarterback Jacob Karvelas, putting the home team up 6-0 with 7:33 left in the first quarter.
Griffin Christian found the end zone later in the first half to level the score at 6-6.
The Cougars seemed to regain the momentum when Cason Firth, who finished the game with 178 yards, scored on a 72-yard touchdown run, giving his team a 13-6 lead with 10:35 left in the third quarter.
With 6:17 left in the third quarter, Griffin Christian took over after an interception right around midfield.
With a heavy dose of passing, Griffin Christian was able to drive inside the 5-yard line, and with 3:18 remaining in the third quarter, Andrew Shoenfeldt scored on a quarterback keeper, and the game was tied at 13-13.
As the rain continued to fall yards were tough to gain for both teams and ball security did become more of a factor.
Griffin Christian made several trips into the red zone during the fourth quarter, but the Cougar defense stood tall, stopping the Crusaders twice on fourth down.
Late into the final minutes of regulation, the Cougars were forced to punt.
Unfortunately for the Cougars, the punter’s knee was on the ground when he gathered the ball, so the Crusaders’ took over at the 20-yard line.
Moments later Griffin Christian scored the go-ahead touchdown to take a 19-13 lead with 2:57 left in the game.
Lafayette Christian had one more shot.
The Cougars made it into Crusaders’ territory, but their hopes ended when Griffin Christian’s Daniel Gibbs forced a fumble.