By Wes Sparkmon
Grace Christian Prepares to Play David Role against Columbia Academy
After winning a nail-biter in Lynnville against Richland, the Lions (3-2, 2-2) go on the road to challenge on regional opponent Columbia Academy. The Bulldogs are 4-1, 4-0 in regional play and are 24-4 since the beginning of the 2013 season and are the two-time defending Class A Region 4 champions.
Lion Offense Led by Three-Headed Monster in Backfield
This season, GCA’s offense has been led by quarterback Austin Amor and running backs Dylan Woods and Jordan Whitson. Between the three of them, they have scored 14 touchdowns on the ground. Woods has been the bruiser out of the backfield, using his size to his advantage against the smaller front sevens in Class A. If Woods has played Mr. Inside for the Lions, Jordan Whitson has been Mr. Outside for GCA. The Lions have also used motion from Whitson to open up running lanes in the middle for Austin Amor.
When the Lions have taken to the air, Amor has thrown for over 500 yards and 2 touchdowns. The GCA offensive line will have to protect the Lions signal caller against a Columbia Academy defense that has picked off their opponents 3 times and sacked them 8 times.
GCA Prepares for Balanced Bulldog Attack
When on defense, Dylan Woods and Nick Whitson have led the Lions in tackles, with Woods leading GCA in tackles through every game this season. Whitson, Kolby Alonzo, and Cole Chapman have all forced at least one turnover for one of the Lions on the season.
Friday, GCA will be facing a Bulldog offense that has average over 190 yards per game passing and nearly 170 yards on the ground. The Lion defense will have to focus split back Thomas Garrison out of the backfield, who has 275 yards on the ground and 254 yards receiving and Bulldogs leading receiver Taylor Thompson, who has gone over 100 yards receiving in 4 of CA’s 5 games and totaled 655 yards receiving. Thompson has also been used on the ground, rushing for 91 yards and 3 touchdowns.
In their first year in TSSAA competition, Friday’s game gives Grace Christian their first chance to measure themselves against what has been the gold standard of Class A Region 4 in recent years. For Rusty Smith’s club, a strong showing would set them up for a downhill push to potential postseason play.More Grace Christian Academy News