Kevin Eckleberry | Daily News
They’re one win from a championship.
The Lafayette Christian School Cougars scored a late touchdown to beat Praise Academy 36-34 in the semifinals of the Georgia Independent Christian Athletic Association state playoffs on Friday.
Lafayette Christian will face Central-Christian next Friday for the eight-man state title.
It was a big step for the Cougars, who had reached the state semifinals the previous two seasons before coming up short.
They got over the hump this year, although it wasn’t easy.
The Cougars trailed 14-0 in the first half, and they were still down by five points with less than a minute remaining when freshman quarterback Landon Whitley found Eli Shepherd from about 45 yards out for the go-ahead touchdown.
Praise Academy was unable to do anything when it got the ball back, and Lafayette Christian’s spot in the title game was secured.
“We’re proud of the boys, and we’re proud of what they were able to accomplish,” Lafayette Christian head coach Nate Shaw said. “Ultimately it comes down to what they’re able to do on the field, and they were able to do it, and we’re proud to represent Troup County in the championship game.”
Jemi Reed had two touchdown runs for the Cougars, and Sam Marshall added a 1-yard scoring run.
Whitley threw a pair of scoring passes, one to Anteveis Sands, and the other to Shepherd for the game-winner.
The title game will be a rematch of an overtime thriller from earlier this season, which Central-Christian won 58-56 in LaGrange.
Central-Christian ended up winning the region, and Lafayette Christian was second.
Central-Christian beat Harvester in its semifinal game on Friday.
Reach Kevin Eckleberry at (706) 884-7311 or on Twitter @lagrangesports