Defense leads the way for Cougars in opening region game of the season

Published 10:48 pm Friday, September 22, 2023

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The Lafayette Christian Cougars needed a response after losing their first game of the season last week, and got one on Friday, beating Central Christian 30-14 in their region opener.

“We have some things we have to clean up, but we feel good about this win,” LCS coach Jarred Pike said. “We needed this win, but we have to play a complete four quarter game.”

After a slow start last week against Unity that saw Lafayette Christian trailing 24-0 at halftime, the Cougars did not repeat their mistake taking a 22-0 lead into the break against the Crusaders on Friday night.

“The first half we played great,” Pike said. “We were moving the ball and flying to the ball, and everybody was playing great. We came out and played the way I wanted us to.”

Unsurprisingly, it was senior leader Ephraim Snyder who led the way, scoring the first two touchdowns of the game on touchdown runs of two yards and 44 yards in the first quarter.

“He got our offense moving and rolling early,” Pike said. “The first half our offense played great but didn’t play as great in the second half.

“Ephtaim responded and did his thing in the first half but had a fumble.”

The defense responded in a big way as well. The defense was absolutely dominant in the first half and scored the third touchdown of the game when Paul Batistini scooped up a fumble and returned it 20+ yards with 28 seconds left in the first quarter.

“He locked down at corner and played well, but he wasn’t the only one,” Pike said. “Brandon Davenport, our linebacker, played lights out.

“I think he had about 15 tackles. He was the leader on the defense today.”

Both defenses were in control in the second, and Batistini made another massive defensive play in the second quarter when he intercepted a pass late in the second quarter to end a Crusader drive and ensure the shutout was intact going into the break.

The dominant defense picked up right where they left off in the second half, putting the Cougars up 30-0 late in the third quarter when Noah Childree recovered a fumble and returned it 40+ yards for a touchdown.

The Crusaders averaged over 40 points per game coming into their contest with the Cougars, but Lafayette Christian’s defense shut them down entirely. 

“The defense basically scored as many touchdowns as the other team,” Pike said. “They played a great game like they have all season.”

Central Christian was finally able to find the end zone on a long touchdown pass with 8:27 left in the game to cut the Cougar lead to 30-14. The Crusaders added another touchdown on a long pass with 4:48 left in the game after a costly fumble from the LCS offense.

The offense was sloppy at times, turning it over five times and had to be bailed out by the defense on multiple occasions.

“We still managed to win 30-14 because of our defense,” Pike said. “We have to work on and clean up some things with ball security or the upcoming region games might not be so fun.”

Lafayette Christian (3-1) starts region play 1-0. The Cougars will be back on the gridiron for homecoming next Friday against New Creation.