Shorthanded LCS loses first game of season at Praise Academy

Published 11:14 pm Friday, September 9, 2022

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A hot start to the season for LaFayette Christian came to an end on Friday as the Cougars suffered their first loss in a 55-40 defeat to Praise Academy. 

“We were missing three guys,” Cougar coach Jared Pike said. “We had to play a ton of freshmen tonight, and it showed.”

The Cougars were short handed but held tough until late in the fourth quarter when Praise stretched the lead out a bit.  

Praise took an early 7-0 lead, but the Cougars had an answer in Ephraim Snyder who ran it in from 10 yards out to cut the lead to 7-6. 

Later in the first quarter, the Cougars defense recovered a fumble and on the subsequent play, Andrew Hough hit Braden Firth for a 50 yard touchdown to give the Cougars their first lead of the night. This was huge for the Cougars as Firth had missed the opening two games with a knee injury that he has been battling since late last season. Firth is a senior and one of the best players for the Cougars so his return will be massive going forward. 

“He’s so important for our team. He’s a leader,” Pike said. “The guys follow and listen to him, so I’m happy to see him back out there. He’s still battling a knee injury, so we are figuring out where to line him up and how to use him.”

Praise answered back with a touchdown late in the first quarter, but the Cougars were able to take a 14-13 lead into the second quarter. LaFayette Christian was able to extend its lead to 20-13 on a five yard touchdown run from Hough. It was not to last as Praise answered back a couple minutes later to tie the game at 20 before taking a 26-20 lead with two minutes to go in the half. Praise extended the lead up to 33-20 with seconds to go before the half.

The Cougars would not stop fighting. Chaz Clark took the ensuing kickoff back for a touchdown and just like that the Cougars cut the lead to one score and only trailed 33-26 at the break.

“It was a huge play,” Pike said. “We were able to get a little momentum heading into halftime.”

Hough came up clutch again with an interception to start the third quarter. The Cougars capitalized on the Praise turnover when Snyder scored a touchdown from four yards out. With a successful two point conversion, the Cougars retook the lead 34-33. 

It would be the final lead of the night for LaFayette Christian. Praise took a 39-34 lead just before the end of the third quarter and expanded it to 47-34 early in the fourth. 

Clark answered with a one yard touchdown run after a big pass play to Firth got the Cougars close to the end zone. The Cougars trailed 47-40 with six minutes to go before Praise added a touchdown to put the game out of reach. The short-handed Cougars got even more depleted in the fourth quarter as Snyder picked up an oblique injury that made it difficult for him to run. 

“Andrew (Hough) had to do everything on offense today,” Pike said. “He was our leader, especially once Snyder came out with an injury.”

LaFayette Christian falls to 2-1 on the season. The Cougars will be back on their home turf next Friday against Central Christian. 

“We need our guys to keep their grades up and have self control on the field,” Pike said. “I believe this is an entirely different ball game with our complete team.”