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Riverside Christian Academy’s varsity football team won the Middle Tennessee Athletic Conference (MTAC) championship for the second year in a row in a rematch against MTAC South division rival, the Franklin Christian Academy Falcons, on Friday night.
The game was tight for the entire 48 minutes ending with a score of 56-52.
“We knew the game would be a battle, especially since we were missing some key contributors due to injury. The guys stepped up to the challenge and refused to quit when a lot of teams would have. We had a great support from Knight nation who stuck with us all the way to the end,” said Travis Creasy, RCA’s head coach.
The game turned out to be a defensive struggle for the first quarter and half of the second quarter before each team went on offensive campaigns, ending in a score of RCA, 16, FCA, 20, at halftime.
FCA was the first to score on a nine-yard touchdown run, but the two-point conversion attempt was no good.
Josh Brooks would score first for the Knights on a 38-yard run, and Josh Hill added two points on a two-point conversion reception.
FCA answered with a two-yard touchdown run and a two-point conversion reception. Then, RCA turned the ball over on downs, and the Falcons took advantage of the situation by scoring a 60-yard touchdown to go ahead of the Knights by 12 points with only 28 seconds to go in the half.
RCA was able to drive the field quickly with the help of a 20-yard kickoff return by Logan Crabtree and a 19-yard pass to Mason Forchetti before Josh Hill put the ball in the end zone on a one-yard touchdown run and on the two-point conversion for the 16-20 halftime score.
“Our defensive coordinator, Dr. Paul Sain, did a great job of adjusting to the Falcons’ running offense because we had game-planned for a heavy passing attack that we faced in our first meeting against FCA,” said Creasy. “The score right before halftime was just a preview of the no-quit attitude our boys displayed throughout the rest of the game.”
Josh Brooks scored the first touchdown of the second half on a six-yard run, but the pass for the two-point conversion was intercepted.
The Falcons scored next on a 50-yard pass and added two on a two-point conversion run.
The Knights answered with a 75-yard touchdown pass to Mason Forchetti on a play that could have been a disaster for the Knights; the snap was fumbled and the ball landed on the ground several yards behind the line of scrimmage, but quarterback Josh Brooks scrambled for the ball and ran toward the Knights sideline where he had time to make the pass to Forchetti down field. The two-point conversion was no good on that drive.
Josh Brooks put one more ball in the end zone before the end of the third quarter on a five-yard run, but the two-point conversion attempt failed for a score of Knights, 34, Falcons, 28, going in to the fourth quarter.
Fans who like defense probably enjoyed the first quarter as each team battled back and forth, causing turnovers, stopping drives, and forcing punts, but fans who love offense had to have enjoyed the fourth quarter as a total of 46 points were scored in an offensive shootout.
FCA got on the board first with a 50-yard touchdown pass and two-point conversion run.
The Knights answered with a five-yard touchdown pass to Mason Forchetti, but the two-point conversion was no good.
FCA came back with an eight-yard touchdown run and a two-point conversion run to go ahead by four points with 8:01 left in the game.
Josh Brooks returned the Falcons’ kickoff 75 yards for a touchdown and Josh Hill punctuated the score with a two-point conversion run.
FCA answered with a 22-yard pass to the end zone and a two-point conversion run to go ahead by four points with 1:45 left in the game.
The last score of the game came on a trick play by the RCA offense. Quarterback Josh Brooks pitched the ball to running back, Josh Hill, and Hill threw the ball to Mason Forchetti for a 40-yard touchdown with 1:07 left in the game. Logan Crabtree added two-points on a run to the end zone for a score of 56-52.
The Knights had to have a big showing on defense to keep the fast-paced FCA offense out of the end zone before the end of the game. The Falcons did made it to the red zone, but with five seconds left on the clock, Josh Brooks and Mason Forchetti tackled the FCA quarterback, who kept the ball for a running play, in bounds. The Falcons were out of time outs and the team couldn’t get set up for another play as time ran off the clock for the Knights’ victory.
“The team’s belief in one another showed through in the last half, as they kept pushing and fighting through adversity. A lot of teams would have chosen to give up, but our guys kept playing which is a testament to our assistant coaches. It was a team effort from our seniors to our eighth-graders who moved up at the end of the middle school season. Our defense rose to the occasion after our offense scored quickly to take the lead.
“I’m very thankful to everyone who made this season possible. The last thing I said to the players on Friday night was that ‘God is good all the time no matter the circumstances,’ and they played that way during the game,” said Creasy.