By Wes Sparkmon
After opening their first season of TSSAA football on the road for their first two games, the Grace Christian Academy Lions won their first home game in program history, with a come from behind 15-8 victory over regional opponent Summertown.
The Lions would have the ball to open the game, but were held to a three and out. However, Summertown mishandled the Dylan Woods’ punt and the Lions recovered the fumble deep in Eagle territory. The Lions’ drive would stall before Grace Christian would attempt a field goal that would sail wide left and the game would remain scoreless. After trading punts, the Lions’ defense would force a fumble and was recovered Jordan Whitson for GCA, but again the Lions’ drive would stall. After a Woods’ punt, Summertown drove the ball downfield before the GCA defense would stop the Eagles on 4th and goal. The GCA offense took over deep in their own territory before the Eagles’ defensive line would tackle quarterback Austin Amor in the endzone, setting the halftime score at 2-0 Summertown.
Summertown would open the second half with the ball and methodically carry the ball downfield, taking over 9 minutes off the clock in the 3rd quarter before Riley Chapman would connect with Chase Mote for an Eagle touchdown. Summertown would attempt a two-point conversion, but the Lions were able to sniff the play out behind the line of scrimmage and keep it a one-possession game. GCA’s offense was unable to convert on 3rd down, but Summertown was unable to field the punt cleanly and the Lions took over near midfield.
4th Quarter rally gives GCA their second victory
The Lions offense was able to move the ball downfield on the legs of Austin Amor, but Summertown was able to rip the ball out at Summertown 1-yard line and stop the GCA threat. After forcing an Eagle punt, the Lions’ offense would take the field with confidence of having moved the ball on their previous drive. GCA’s drive took just over 1 minute before Austin Amor was able to carry the ball in from 13 yards out to put Grace Christian on the board. On the conversion attempt, Amor rolled out to the right and found receiver Lane Roland in the back of then endzone to tie the game at 8.
With the home crowd energized, Summertown took the field, but penalties would force the Eagles into a 3rd and 28. As Eagles’ quarterback Riley Chapman rolled out to the left, the Lions’ front four penetrated the offensive line and got a strip sack on Chapman. The fumble was recovered by Cole Chapman for the Lions in the endzone and gave Grace Christian the lead, 15-8.
The Eagles would have one final opportunity and were able to move the ball into GCA territory, but on fourth down, the pressure forced a bad pass from Chapman that was picked off by Dylan Woods near midfield. Two Grace Christian kneel downs would give the Lions their first home victory in program history as the students would pour onto the field and celebrate the win.
The victory moves Grace Christian to 2-1, 1-1 in Class A Region 4. Next week, the Lions host the Moore County Raiders in their third regional game of the season.