More than a bruising back: Snyder is poised to lead LCS on a deep playoff run in his final season

Published 8:30 am Saturday, September 9, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Lafayette Christian’s Ephraim Snyder is more than just a bruising back. The heartbeat of the 2023 Cougar football team is a soft-spoken senior, but when you put him between the white stripes on the football field, he flips a switch.

When you watch Snyder steamroll defenders in his sky blue Cougar uniform, it is hard to believe he arrived in Georgia from Illinois as a sixth grader with only a passive understanding of football. 

“Football was not a big thing up there, so when I moved here I didn’t even play my sixth grade year, I just played soccer,” Snyder said. “Really, I just came out my seventh grade year for fun, I didn’t really start taking it serious until my eighth grade year when I had to become a leader for the middle school team.”

He tried out for the LCS middle school as it was the big sport on campus, but soccer still felt like his no. 1. It took a lot of convincing for his parents to even let him try out.

“It took a while, and it took a lot of convincing because they were worried for my safety,” Snyder said, chuckling. 

As Snyder grew up on the gridiron, a passive interest turned into a deep and heartfelt love for the game. Now, Snyder cannot imagine Friday nights in the fall not under the lights.

“It is different being out here every Friday night,” Snyder said. “It really sunk in for me last year how much I’m going to miss this when it ends.”

Snyder has racked up insane statistics, piling up over 2,000 yards last year as a junior en route to being named to the GAPPS All-State team. He has already totaled over 300 yards this year as a senior despite getting to rest in the second half of both games as the Cougars were blowing out their two opponents. 

The Cougars have not put Snyder in bubble wrap, but they are trying to keep his snap count as low as possible. Snyder had to play running back and linebacker last season after injuries plagued the team for parts of the season. 

Snyder does not miss having to play both ways: “It is really hard to play both ways. Its a lot of snaps in one game.”

Snyder cares not for putting up gaudy statlines unless it leads to wins. The senior has eyes on a much bigger prize in his final season with the Cougars.

“As a team, we want to build our chemistry as we have some new starters, but we want to win the state championship,” Snyder said. “On an individual level, I want to run lower and harder.”

The Cougars fell in the state semifinals last season which just made Snyder come back even hungrier for team success in his senior season.

“I think we have what it takes as long as we stick together as a team,” Snyder said. “We have to keep pushing each other and motivating each other, but I think we have what it takes to go all the way this year.”

He is also aware that this could be his final year strapping up the pads and playing football. Snyder dreams of playing college football and has talked with Berry College but understands how hard it is to be recruited in general and even harder when you play 8-man football.

“This could be my last year ever playing this game, so I have to put it all out there every snap of every game,” he said.

LCS head coach Jarred Pike has been alongside Snyder every step of his football journey. Pike was the head middle school coach when Snyder first tried out as well as the head varsity coach at the high school level when Snyder got his first reps as a freshman.

“He really is a great coach and has helped me in the recruiting process a ton,” Snyder said. “We have a great group of coaches that teach me how to live life like Godly men, so I couldn’t ask for anybody better.”

With all that in mind, Snyder set out to be a leader for the team this season. With a large contingent of starters departing from last year’s team, it was necessary for Snyder to step up and fill those shoes, and he has delivered so far.

“Most of it is through my actions,” he said. “If they see my slacking off or taking a play off then they will think that is OK for them to do. I have to be mindful of everything I’m doing and make sure I’m motivating the guys and making sure they step up.”

Snyder is not hard to spot on Friday nights, just look for no. 17 bulldozing his way past a couple of defenders for another big play in a long line of them for the Cougars.