Lions Roar to Victory, Clinch First Playoff Berth in School History

A Historic Evening for Amor, Grace Christian Academy
GCA QB Austin Amor drops back to pass in an earlier game this season.


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After clinching his team’s first playoff bid, Grace Christian Academy Coach Rusty Smith struggled to find the words to describe the impact. “It’s surreal. You can’t explain it. It’s amazing for our program, for our school, for the community. It’s amazing.” On a sloppy Friday night, his Lions defeated regional foe Fayetteville 28-14 on the strength of four Austin Amor rushing touchdowns to clinch third place in Region 5-1A.

Shortly after kickoff, the rain began to fall. The rain produced less than ideal conditions, as both offenses struggled to gain their footing. A redzone stand by the GCA defense turned away the Tigers on the best scoring opportunity of the opening frame. The second quarter was taken over by the senior signal caller for the Lions, who began to lead his team down the field. The scoring was begun as Amor dropped back to pass. Failing to find anyone open, he took advantage of a hole in the middle of the defense. Two cuts later, and the Lions’ quarterback hit pay dirt to set the halftime advantage at 7-0 for GCA.

Zach White takes the handoff for the Lions

The continued rainfall made conditions even worse for the teams in the second half. After their opening drive stalled, a low snap by the Lions led to the Tigers blocking the punt and returning it for a touchdown to even the score at 7 apiece. The fourth quarter began with Amor attacking the weak side of the Fayetteville defense, with a 28-yard touchdown scamper, but the Tigers would respond by returning the ensuing kickoff 83 yards down the right side to level the scores once again. The Lion offense would continue to keep the ball on the ground to draw in the Tiger defense before Amor ran past the defense with a 30-yard touchdown run. After turning away a Fayetteville fourth down conversion attempt, the Lions would score on a final 6-yard Amor touchdown plunge to set the final margin at 28-14. A last gasp pass by Fayetteville was intercepted by Zach White to punch the playoff ticket for the Lions.

“[The conditions] definitely hurt and makes both teams one dimensional,” said Rusty Smith. “Tonight was good for our guys. They played hard, they executed and they took care of the football, and that’s the kind of game that you need to play in this type of weather.”

Amor, who finished with 30 carries for 244 yards, explained, “We knew the weather was going to be tough. We knew we needed to listen to what the coaches [drew] up. The biggest thing was to execute what they had to do for us and protect the ball.”

This team included the largest senior class in the brief history of Grace Christian football, with 14 players celebrating senior night on this evening.

“We’ve got a great group of seniors,” continued Amor. “We’ve all grown up together since 8th grade. We sat down in the summertime and decided we wanted to play in November. To be the first means a lot because we’re all so tight and we love each other so much.”

The Lions will travel next week to 7-3 Wayne County, who finished second in Region 6-1A.


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