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Etheridge powering ELCA's offense in playoffs

Jeff Hurdon Photography
Eagle’s Landing Christian quarterback Dalton Etheridge has accounted for 553 yards of offense in the first two rounds of the Class A private school playoffs.

Jeff Hurdon Photography Eagle’s Landing Christian quarterback Dalton Etheridge has accounted for 553 yards of offense in the first two rounds of the Class A private school playoffs.

MCDONOUGH — Entering the start of the Class A private school playoffs, Eagle’s Landing Christian quarterback Dalton Etheridge was listed as questionable by coach Jonathan Gess.

The junior quarterback missed the top-ranked Chargers win over Landmark Christian in the Region 5-A Championship game after sustaining an ankle injury against Pace the week before.

Rested and healed, Etheridge has been a big spark in leading ELCA into Friday’s semifinals against George Walton Academy at Commitment Field on Friday. In two playoff games, Etheridge has totaled 553 yards of offense and has had his hand in seven touchdowns.

“I think I’ve done pretty well the last couple games,” said the soft-spoken quarterback. “I have to lead the team.”

And that is something his teammates say he is doing quite well.

“Dalton is always encouraging us and giving us credit,” said senior offensive lineman Tyler Petty. “He sets the tone each day before practice. He definitely keeps us on track.”

When Dalton went down in the first quarter of the Chargers win at Pace Academy, Gess inserted backup Jordan Long into the lineup as the Chargers cruised to a 55-0 victory.

Against Landmark the following week, the coach used a two-quarterback system of Marquis Griffin and Keyante Green as the Chargers won 43-0 to claim their third straight region title.

Gess was all prepared to used Griffin and Green in the playoffs, but Etheridge was healed enough to make a significant contribution.

“Dalton has been able to make things happen for us,” Gess said.

Etheridge presents a dual threat for the Chargers. Depending on what the defense gives the Chargers, Etheridge is able to either pass or run.

Gess said that Etheridge is living up to the preseason expectations that the coaching staff had entering the season.

“Dalton has done a good job of executing our offense,” Gess said. “We have had some lopsided victories so he hasn’t had an opportunity to show what all he can do. We haven’t had to use everything that we have worked on because different teams try to either take away the run or the pass.”