2023 season preview: LCS is looking to improve upon last year’s semifinals appearance

Published 8:30 am Tuesday, August 22, 2023

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Lafayette Christian School made another deep playoff run last season, making it all the way to the semifinals of the GAPPS playoffs before falling to Sherwood, the team’s second loss to the team in a four week stretch at the end of the season. The Cougars had a great season in 2022 but took their lumps also as the team looks to return with a new edge after the experiences of a season ago.

“They beat us up pretty bad and the guys want another chance at that,” Pike said. 

The team lost some key playmakers from last year’s team like starters Andrew Hough, Alex Tusing, Braden Firth, Cal Evert, Chaz Clark and Baylor Wise, who all helped keep the program afloat when it was close to being on the chopping block. Pike would obviously love to have those players return but believes the team has all the tools necessary to make another deep run this season.

“We are going to be playing a very similar schedule to last season, so we know our opponents, and they know us,” Pike said. “What happens in the fall is all about who is putting in the work right now before the season.”

The Cougars finished 6-5 and second in the region last season. Pike wants to continue to raise the bar higher.

With just 15 total players, the Cougars will have a plethora of athletes pulling double duty on offense and defense.

“Almost everybody is going to have to play on both sides,” Pike said. “We have to be in great shape.

“We have always been smaller and have had to play with a chip on our shoulder.”



The Cougars will be replacing Andrew Hough, who threw for nearly 150 yards a game a season ago. David Karvelas, a standout baseball player, has joined the football team in his junior year and is looking to be the team’s starting quarterback this season.

“Andrew was a great passer for us, but David Karvelas is a great athlete,” Pike said. “This is his first year playing quarterback, so there will be some rough times for him, but I believe he’s doing really well considering he has never played the position before.

“He throws a great ball.”

Karvelas will bring an element in the running game that Hough did not as Pike believes the former is better with his legs. 

Paul Batistini will serve as the team’s backup quarterback.



The Cougar offense starts and stops with Ephraim Snyder. The senior running back has been getting looks from colleges and racked up over 2,000 yards on the ground last season.

“Every team we play is going to know that we want to run the ball with Ephraim, so we are going to have to have a threat to throw and some other guys to step up,” Pike said. 

Snyder is the definition of a bell cow back. He can also catch the ball out of the backfield and lay down a block. Snyder was one of two Cougars to be named to the GAPPS All-State team last year and the senior will be hungry to reach those same standards he has set from himself previously. 

“He has been working out and going to camps across the state this summer,” Pike said. “He took a visit up to Berry College and had a good camp there.

“He is running and training, and he wants to play in college, so he is doing what it takes to help the team have a memorable season.”

Behind him will be Brandon Davenport, who got his fair share of game time last season. He will receive some running back reps again this season as a sophomore. 

“He has gotten a lot bigger since last year, and we are excited about what we can do with him this year,” Pike said. “I think he will do good as the no. 2 running back.”



Paul Batistini is in line to be the no. 1 receiver this season. The team lost Alex Tusing, Chaz Clark and Braden Firth who were all big pieces of the receiving puzzle last year even with those players missing some games. Pike is confident now that Batistini is fully healthy after suffering a shoulder injury last year that he can fill the shoes left by those other players.

Sophomore Jonathan Ross played some last year as a freshman and is expected to receive even more reps this year and possibly start. Ross is a bigger body wide receiver and offers the Cougars something different on the outside. 

Ross will play some at tight end as well. 

Sophomores Connor Hudson and Cody Batistini could also find their way into the wide receiver mix as well. 

“We have a lot of guys that we can move in and out,” Pike said. “It’s about getting them to learn plays and getting them in the spots.”



“We will once again have a tiny person offensive line,” Pike said with a laugh. “We are used to being smaller than most of the teams we play.”

Sophomore Liam Carroll will be the team’s starting center after earning the role in his freshman year. Senior Matthew Latour is in his first year with the team but could very well see himself earn a starting role on the offensive line.

“He is a big kid, and he should have been playing since ninth grade,” Pike said. “He’s about 6’2 220 lbs. and is a good size kid for our program.

“He has no experience, but I think he will figure it out.”

Junior Noah Childree will likely slot in as one of the starting guards. Eli Carroll will provide depth on the offensive line. 

“We have some guys that can play, but we are not big so it is about getting outside and using our speed,” Pike said. 



The Cougars lost one of their only two all-state players from last year at defensive end. Cal Evert racked up 15 sacks a season ago and locked one side of the offensive line down a season ago and will be hard to replace. Pike has high expectations for sophomore Eli Carroll at defensive end.

“I think Eli will be Cal, maybe not this year but in the long run,” Pike said. “He is long and is quick. He really has a lot of talent and he rarely misses a tackle. We are hoping he locks on the side of the field down as a defensive end.”

Matthew Latour will be the team’s starting nose guard as he pulls double duty like most of the Cougars. Jonathan Ross could see time as the other defensive end. 



Brandon Davenport, a sophomore, started last season as one of the two middle linebackers and returns to the role in 2023. Senior Matheus Pittman played a lot of cornerback last year for the Cougars, but has transitioned into one of the starting linebackers this season.

“Matheus plays downhill really well,” Pike said. “Him and Brandon will start at linebacker and make the calls and adjustments which will be new for both of them as neither of those players have ever done that before.”

Ephraim Snyder, the team’s star running back, will provide depth at linebacker and played quite a few snaps there a season ago. The goal is to keep him off the defensive side of the ball as often as possible as he carries the Cougar offense. 

“We don’t want him playing both sides of the ball very game all season,” Pike said. “We don’t want to wear him down come playoff time.”



Brothers Paul and Cody Batistini will lock down the cornerback positions. Paul has much experience but Cody came on strong late in the season last year when Alex Tusing and Andrew Hough were banged up in the secondary. Cody is just a sophomore and Paul is going into his senior season.

“Our wide receivers will pretty much have to stay on the field and turn the opposite way,” Pike said of the team’s use of players on both sides of the ball.



Jonathan Ross will likely handle any kicking duties. Kicking could be a rare occurrence again this year as the team went for two-point conversions regularly last season.

“We converted around 60% of our two-point conversations last year, so as long as you get 50% it is the same as lining up and kicking a PAT every time,” Pike said.