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The Knights won the championship game against Sacred Heart of Jesus High School from Jackson in a decisive 48-15 victory.
RCA put the first points on the board with 8:29 left in the first quarter on a five-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Reagan Eldridge to Josh Brooks. The two-point conversion was no good for a 6-0 score.
Josh Brooks found the end zone again before the end of the first quarter on an 11-yard pass from Eldridge. Eldridge’s pass to Seth Finch was good for the two-point conversion for a 14-0 score with 2:00 to go in the first quarter.
Josh Brooks scored his third touchdown of the game after intercepting a Sacred Heart pass in the red zone and running the ball back 82 yards. The two-point conversion was no good for a score of 20-0 with 10:45 left in the first half.
Sacred Heart scored a touchdown on a run and kicked an extra point to put seven points on the board with 5:30 left in the half.
RCA ended the first half with a 35-yard pass from Eldridge to Mason Forchetti for a touchdown and a halftime score of 26-7.
A storm rolled in from the west and caused an almost hour long delay before the teams were able to resume the game.
Reagan Eldridge scored a 14-yard rushing touchdown almost immediately after the game resumed, but the two-point conversion was no good for a score of 32-7.
After four minutes of play in the third quarter, another storm rolled in and the lightning began again, causing another long weather delay.
When the game resumed after the second delay, the Knights came out running the ball in an attempt to run the clock out faster.
Freshman running back Nathan Moose scored a touchdown on a five-yard run with 2:55 left in the third. Eldridge’s pass to Seth Finch was good for the two-point conversion, and a score of 40-7.
Josh Brooks scored his fourth and final touchdown of the night on a 30-yard run with 7:17 left in the game. Eldridge’s pass to Mason Forchetti was good for the two-point conversion. The score at that point was RCA, 48, SHJHS, 7.
Sacred Heart scored the final touchdown of the game on a run with a little over one minute left in the game, the two-point conversion was good for a final score of 48-15.
RCA Quarterback Reagan Eldridge led the Knights on offense. He completed 11 of 17 passes for 132 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. He also carried the ball 12 times for a total of 98 yards, one touchdown, seven first downs and no fumbles.
Josh Brooks also contributed greatly on offense with three carries for 104 yards and five catches for a total of 42 yards. Brooks had a total of three offensive touchdowns.
Others contributing on offense were Seth Finch with five catches for 55 yards; Nathan Moose with seven carries for 43 yards and one touchdown; Mason Forchetti with one catch for 35 yards and a touchdown; and Nathan Elrod with one carry for eight yards.
Josh Brooks also led the team on defense with four tackles, two assists and an 82-yard pick six.
Josh Hill and Austin Wooten also contributed greatly on defense. Hill had five tackles, one assist and one fumble recovery. Wooten had five tackles and three assists.
Others contributing on defense were Reagan Eldridge with three tackles, one assist and one defended pass; Josh Mills with three tackles and three assists; Nathan Moose with two tackles, one assist, and one sack for a four-yard loss; Nathan Elrod with three tackles and one assist; Ryan Eldridge with two tackles and one assist; Caleb Durham with one tackle; and Jarrod Trahin with one assist.
The Knights’ overall season record was 6-4. This was RCA’s first winning season and first opportunity to play in a championship game.
“It’s great that our seniors get to go out on top after all they’ve been through with coaching changes, the tornado that destroyed the field house in 2011 and the change from 11-man to 8-man football,” said RCA’s athletic director, Whitney Creasy.
“I’m so proud to have been a small part of this team. These guys have truly fought through some tough setbacks, but have continued to work hard, and their dedication has really paid off.
“I’m excited to continue with 8-man football in the MTAC next year. I really think the 8-man game is our niche, and I’m happy that we made the switch,” said Creasy.
“We started out the year in a slump with two losses, but once our coaches made some adjustments, moving players to different positions on the field, we really fell into a groove. We had some great competitive, high-scoring games this year. The fans had a great time watching, and the boys had a great time playing and came together as a team.”