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ELCA clinches Region 5-A South with 70-14 win

By Derrick Mahone

dmahone@news-daily.com

Eagle's Landing Christian offensive lineman Matt Rochell was able to admit after the game that he and some of his line mates missed a few of their blocking assignments.

But when you have a potent running duo of Keyante Green and John Tatum, it is hard to tell. While it will become apparent to the coaching staff after breaking down the game film this weekend, no one was complaining after a 70-14 win at Our Lady of Mercy Friday.

Green, a sophomore, had 195 yards rushing and three touchdowns while Tatum, a junior, ran for 156 yards and four touchdowns. As a team, the Chargers amassed 529 yards of offense, 455 coming on the ground.

"I'm just so amazed at Keyante and John," said Rochell, who is expected to sign a scholarship with the Air Force Academy. "You just have to watch them in awe. They make our job a lot easier. I missed some blocks and they still scored."

Said quarterback Aaron Spratlin: "They (Green and Tatum) played great. They take every opportunity and run hard. They take the pressure off everybody. They can bust a game wide open with some big runs."

Aside from it first possession of the game, the ELCA first unit only punted once during the contest. The Chargers only had four plays that gain negative yardage.

With the win, the Chargers clinched the Region 5-A South championship to earn the right to play Wesleyan, the North division champ, for the region championship on November 5. The site of the game will be determined next week.

ELCA will take on Southwest Atlanta Christian next Friday at home.

Green had touchdown runs of 71, 74 and 38 yards while Tatum had scoring runs of 81, 10, 26 and 7 yards. The 70 points were the most that the Chargers have put up since a 74-12 win over SACA in 2008.

ELCA coach Jonathan Gess was equally as impressive with his team's defensive effort. Both of the Bobcats' touchdowns came on kickoff returns. The Chargers' defense hasn't surrendered a score since Sept. 10 in a 28-14 win over Class AA Manchester.

OLM running back Adam Rose scored on a 85-yard kickoff return to make the score 14-7 with 2:40 remaining in the first quarter.

On ELCA's ensuing drive, Tatum capped a six-play drive with a 10-yard touchdown run for a 21-7 lead with 15 seconds remaining in the opening quarter.

After stopping the Bobcats on their next drive, Green broke off a 74-yard scoring run to make the score 28-7 with 6:09 remaining in the second quarter.

On the ensuing kickoff, OLM running back Rashard Fant went 90 yards for a score. ELCA would go on to score three more times as they played the second half with a running clock.

"It is real important to us that our defense throws a shutout each week," ELCA coach Jonathan Gess said. "If we have the ability, we are not going to let the other team score. It is a pride thing. I was proud of our younger guys because they came in and was able to preserve the shutout for us."