Force Stops Patriots 29-20
VERNON, FL – Top ranked Georgia Force dashed the hopes of the Christ Prep in the semi-finals of the National Homeschool Football Association tournament by making big plays on offense and excellent special teams and pulling away for a 29-20 victory. The Blue Knights struck early after intercepting a Noah Blair pass, Jaeden Crownie rushed around the right side for an 84 yard touchdown on their first play from scrimmage.
Christ Prep was forced to punt on the next possession but Daniel Hund pinned the Knights insided the one yard line and Georgia Force went three and out. Grant Stamatis returned the punt to the 16 yardline and Blair hit Hund on a fade route to tie the game at 7-7.
Georgia Force missed a 46 yard field goal and then CPA was forced to punt again at the end of the first quarter. The Blue Knight big play offense scored again on a drive that went 44 yards on three plays capped by a 37 yard touchdown pass from quarterback Hunter Barfield to Mario Rama to give Force a 14-7 advantage.
Christ Prep responded by marching to the Georgia Force three yardline most of which through the air when Blair found Jeffery Harlin, Jr. twice for a total of 37 yards. The Blue Knight defense stood firm and the Patriots were stopped short on 4th down from the three. Coach Jay Geeding’s defense responded and after the Force punted Blair made the play of the game. He narrowly avoided being sacked and after a block from Kameron Quatrocky and Noah Smith scrambled to his right and found Garail Lucas behind the Force defense. Lucas high pointed the ball, snatched it away from two defenders at the 25 yardline, and sprinted to paydirt to tie the game 14-14.
Another long pass from Barfield to Rama, this time for 41 yards, ended the first half scoring.
Luke Sato, who played his best game all season, stripped Force running back Kaleb Tuggle and Coy Goss jumped on it to put the Patriots in business at the Knights 45 yardline. CPA’s ground game took over and Stamatis finished off the drive with a one yard plunge. Grant Gilkeson’s kick was no good to make the score 21-20.
Georgia Force penetrated deep into CPA territory but Stamatis intercepted the Knights in the endzone to kill the threat. Unfortunately, two plays later Blair’s pass skipped of Lucas’s hands and was intercepted.
From that point on both defenses owned the field and Georgia Force’s special teams were the difference. CPA snapped the ball over Hund’s head for a safety and the Knights kicker drilled two field goals to finish the scoring.
Despite the loss the Patriots were encouraged about their ability to play with the top homeschooled teams in the country. “We respect Georgia Force and we expect to right back here next season. They have a lot of juniors. We have a lot of juniors so we want to play them again next year,” said Coach Hurley afterward.
- CPA is now 1-2 in the NHFA championship semifinals.
- Georgia Force is the second highest ranked team the Patriots faced all year behind Jeff Co. North.
- Sato was everywhere on defense racking up 16 total tackles and the forced fumble.
- Goss recovered his second fumble on the season.
- Dashawn Brand left the game in the first half with a knee injury.
- Geeding on the defense, “We gave up too many big plays. We probably should have gone with Garail sooner. But I thought we did what we needed to do.”
- Stamatis on how the team played, “We could have won but we just made too many stupid mistakes.”