The Knights of Riverside Christian Academy crushed the Crusaders of Hendersonville Christian Academy, 58-34, in their season opener on Friday night.
“We felt good going into the game because of our summer workouts and practice leading up to the first game, but you never know what you have until you’re in a game situation,” said RCA’s Head Football Coach Travis Creasy. “Certainly there is more work to be done, but we took a step in the right direction.”
The bleachers at Knight Stadium were filled with members from the community who came out to support the Knights for the first local football game of the season. Coach Creasy said that there was more energy in the stands than any game he has been a part of at RCA and that he could tell the difference in how his players competed because of it.
Early in the first quarter, the Knights put the first points on the board with a nine-yard pass for a touchdown from Josh Brooks to Seth Finch. Brooks ran the ball in the end zone for the two-point conversion for a score of 8-0.
The Crusaders immediately answered with a long pass for a touchdown on their first play from scrimmage. The two-point conversion attempt was no good for a score of 8-6.
Mason Forchetti scored the Knights’ next touchdown on a 57-yard pass from Brooks with 7:29 left in the first quarter. The two-point conversion was no good.
HCA scored the last points of the first quarter on another long pass; the two-point conversion attempt was no good. The Knights led the Crusaders 14-12 at the end of the first quarter.
The Crusaders scored first in the second quarter on a touchdown run by the running back; the quarterback ran the ball in the end zone for the two-point conversion to put the Crusaders ahead of the Knights by six.
Seth Finch knotted the score up about one minute later with a 51-yard touchdown reception from Josh Brooks.
Austin Wooten was the next player to see the end zone on a two-yard run for the Knights. Finch caught the two-point conversion pass in the end zone to bring the score to 28-20.
Late in the second quarter, the Crusaders came back to tie the score with a touchdown run and two-point conversion pass.
The Knights scored the last points of the first half on a one-yard touchdown run by Austin Wooten. Josh Mills connected with Seth Finch in the end zone for the two-point conversion for a 36-28 score at the half.
“We didn’t execute very well or play to our ability in the first half, which may have had something to do with it being our first game. But, we got refocused at halftime and came out and executed the run game at a higher level in the second half,” said Creasy.
The Knights saw the end zone first in the third quarter on a nine-yard pass from Josh Brooks to Mason Forchetti. Brooks kept the ball on the two-point conversion and ran it in the end zone, for a score of 44-28.
Wooten broke the line early in the fourth quarter for an 80-yard touchdown run, adding another six points to the Knights’ score. Brooks connected with Finch in the end zone for the two-point conversion to bring the score to 52-28.
The Crusaders only scored once after halftime, on a touchdown reception late in the fourth quarter. The two-point conversion attempt was no good, to bring HCA’s final score to 34.
The Knights made it in the end zone once more before the end of the game on a one-yard run by Josh Hill. The two-point conversion attempt was no good, for a final score of RCA, 58, to HCA, 34.
“We came out in the second half with a physicality that we didn’t really have in the first half. The defense tightened up and only gave up one touchdown after half time, which made the difference in the game,” said Creasy.
Austin Wooten and Josh Brooks were RCA’s Players of the Game. They led the team in stats on both sides of the ball. Wooten had ten total tackles, four of which were for a loss, and one forced fumble. Brooks had two interceptions and nine total tackles. Wooten also led the Knights in rushing with 13 carries for 120 yards and three touchdowns. Brooks completed seven of 11 passes for 198 yards with no interceptions and four touchdowns.
Mason Forchetti and Seth Finch also stood out on the offensive side of the ball. Finch had three catches for 80 yards and two touchdowns. Forchetti had five catches for 153 yards and two touchdowns.
“I was impressed with several of the catches made by Mason and Seth. Some of them were over their back shoulder or they had to go up and get the ball over a defender. Many of Mason’s catches were against Hendersonville’s best athlete,” said Creasy.
Creasy said he also saw some great development among some of the Knights’ younger and less experienced players that he believes will be good for the future of the program.
“I told the players after the game that they gave me something a lot of rookie head coaches do not get, and that is a win on the first game. I also want to give credit to the rest of our great coaching staff for the success of our first game,” said Creasy.
The Knights will travel to Lighthouse Christian Academy in Antioch on Friday for their first MTAC South Division game. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.