Chargers defense saves the day in region opener

By Anthony Rhoads

The Eagle's Landing Christian Academy Chargers are definitely proving they belong in the Georgia High School Association.

The Chargers won their first GHSA region game in school history Friday night with a 14-7 victory over Whitefield Academy.

"We pointed at this game all season long as one of the watershed games; your season hinges on it," ELCA head coach Tim Luke said. "To beat a team like Whitefield Academy to open the region, I can't tell you how gratifying it is. That is just awesome."

Defense saved the day for ELCA as the Chargers forced four turnovers while allowing just 173 total yards en route to the victory.

"I was just ecstatic with the way our team came to play tonight," Luke said. "It was a slobberknocker from the get-go. I give all the credit to defensive coordinator Marcus Trivette for his brilliant game plan and to the kids for being so coachable and playing so well."

Eagle's Landing Christian (6-1 overall, 1-0 in Region 5-A) trailed 7-0 after Whitefield (4-3, 1-1) marched 79 yards on an 11-play drive to open the game.

Eagle's Landing Christian was forced to punt on its opening possession but Whitefield botched the return.

Russ Cooper recovered at about the Whitefield 25 and ran it in for a touchdown with 3:09 remaining in the first quarter.

Eagle's Landing Christian got another fumble recovery with about four minutes remaining in the half. Patrick Sapp fumbled at the Whitefield 33 and Jason Stott recovered for ELCA.

Three plays later, ELCA was faced with a fourth down at the Whitefield 28 but Cole Springer completed a 20-yard pass to Alec Huber to keep the driver alive.

"That was a collegiate level pass and a collegiate level catch," Luke said.

Two plays later, Tim Waters scored on a 10-yard run to give ELCA the lead.

Whitefield threatened on its final possession of the first half. The Wolfpack started at their own 38 and got down to the ELCA 9.

With a second and goal, Whitefield quarterback Joe Knight threw a pass into the end zone but ELCA's Kerk Murray intercepted with 32 seconds remaining.

In the third quarter, Whitefield again had an extended drive and made it to the ELCA 23. On a third-and-16, Whitefield went to the air but Russ Cooper intercepted a Knight pass.

Four plays later, ELCA ran a reverse play with Alec Huber gaining 8 yards but he fumbled and Whitefield recovered at the ELCA 39. Whitefield managed to get to the 26-yard line but the drive stalled with Harrison Powell missing a 43-yard field goal with 22 seconds remaining in the third quarter.

On Whitefield's last drive, Chance Palmer and Brian Moss recorded sacks as ELCA managed to stop the Wolfpack at the Whitefield 32 with 2:37 remaining in the game.

Cooper led ELCA in rushing with 60 yards on eight carries. The Chargers only managed 30 yard passing as Cole Springer completed 22 of 8 passes. Both completions were to Huber.

Huber led the team in tackles with 13. Waters had nine tackles and Tyler Black recorded eight tackles.

Scoring by quarters

W - 7 0 0 0 - 7

E - 7 7 0 0 - 14

Scoring summary

First quarter

W - Joe Knight 7 run 6:31 (Harrison Powell kick)

E - Russ Cooper fumble recovery 3:07 (Tyler Moore kick)

Second quarter

E - Tim Waters 10 run 1:55 (Moore kick)