Lafayette Christian wins first region game in shootout with Fideles
Published 12:27 am Friday, September 30, 2022
Staring down the barrel of playoff elimination, the short-handed Lafayette Christian football team earned a nail-biting 50-43 win over Fideles on the road to preserve its season and keep its playoff hopes alive and well.
“It was a good game that went back-and-forth,” Cougars coach Jared Pike said. “It was a high scoring game with not a lot of defense. We won a shootout and we needed it.”
Fideles jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead before the Cougars responded with quarterback Andrew Hough taking it in from 10 yards out and with Ephraim Snyder punching in the two-point conversion, the Cougars had their first lead of the game.
The Cougars struggled last week without their starting quarterback as they could only accumulate 12 points last Friday. Thursday was a different story as Hough returned with avengeance, finishing with 130 passing yards, 50 rushing yards and two touchdowns through the air.
“His leadership and game management allows us to call audibles and check into other plays,” Pike said. “He calms everybody down. He commands the huddle.”
Coach Jared Pike got risky and stole a possession when Cal Evert recovered the ensuing onside kick attempt. This sparked the Cougars, who scored on its next possession when Hough connected with Braden Firth on a 32-yard touchdown pass.
Firth missed the opening two weeks as he battled a knee injury but has now caught a touchdown pass in four straight games for the Cougars.
Fideles was able to tie the game at 14 with 9:14 left in the first half before Snyder rumbled into the end zone from 43 yards out to give the Cougars the lead back.
A back-and-forth first half ended with the score tied at 22 heading into the break.
The Hough-Firth connection proved strong once again in the second half as they connected on a 32-yard touchdown that once again put the Cougars back out in front.
“Since middle school they have had a good connection,” Pike said. “They communicate and talk in the huddle and we have a couple of different checks they can run.”
Pike decided to push his chips to the center of the table once again and it was Cal Evert recovering the onside kick once again to steal a possession away from the home team. It was a risk worth taking as Snyder scored his second touchdown of the game to make it 34-22 Lafayette Christian with just under six minutes to go in the third quarter.
“We like to go for onsides because our coverage is not very good,” Pike said. “Andrew (Hough) kicks a pretty good onside kick and I felt like that was our best option. We also wanted to keep it away from their best guy.”
Fideles kept on fighting and cut the Cougar lead to five points with 3:24 left in the third quarter. Once again, it was Snyder with the answer for the Cougars who extended the lead back out to double digits with a nine-yard touchdown run with under a minute to go in the third quarter.
Fideles made the away fans nervous when the team scored on a long touchdown pass with 6:48 left to go in the game.
With a six point lead and their backs against the wall as they faced playoff elimination, the Cougars showed their poise to hold on for a win. Snyder punched in his fourth touchdown of the game from a yard out with 2:29 to play. Snyder had 250 yards to go along with his four touchdowns.
“It was taking two to three guys just to bring him down,” Pike said. “He was running hard and kept his legs moving. It was the best game he has had all season.”
Fideles kept scrapping and cut the lead to a single score with 1:30 left in the game but was not able to recover the onside kick as the Cougars held on for their most important victory of the season.
Lafayette Christian earned a hard fought win in a game that was originally scheduled for Friday night. The Cougars had to travel north of Atlanta to play an early Thursday afternoon game – kickoff was at 5 p.m. – and returned home with their first region win of the season. Lafayette Christian moves to 4-2 overall and 1-1- in region play. The Cougars are on bye next week and will return to the field on Oct. 14 as they host Hearts Academy.