Robert Toombs Christian Academy's Crusader football team hosted the Blue Thunder of Memorial Day School on Friday night in Lyons. It had been many years since RTCA had come away with a win over Memorial, but on Friday night the Crusaders big play offense gave them a 14 point win and a leg up in the Region race. RTCA 35, Memorial Day 21.10 10 17 RTCA Patterson 2

RTCA moved the ball well early against Memorial as they pushed the ball down inside their 25-yard line on their first possession of the game. A penalty moved them back five yards, but a solid run from Sensier Carnes worked the ball back to the 24. Torrey Patterson then scrambled free on a pass play and carried it in for the 24-yard touchdown. Hannah Keene hit the extra point to make the score 7-0 with 6:26 left in the first quarter.

RTCA's defense also had a big game and on the Blue Thunder's next possession Tom Waller came up with a big play for the Crusaders as he picked off a pass at their own 21-yard line to stop a Memorial drive.  

RTCA couldn't take advantage of the turnover, though, and were forced to punt the ball away as they gave good field position to Memorial near midfield.         

RTCA again quickly got the ball back and went right down the field to the Memorial 15-yard line. Jalin Harris rushed it inside the 10-yard line but the Memorial defense again stalled them and RTCA turned the ball over at the 6-yard line on downs.

Memorial finally got their offense going and marched the ball down the field and scored their first touchdown of the game. They went for the two-point conversion but were unsuccessful as RTCA still led 7-6.

Memorial moved the ball out near midfield, but again RTCA's defense came up big and got the ball back to the offense. Patterson connected on a long pass to A.J. Stewart for 45 yards all the way to the 6-yard line and then Carnes took it in from their as he caught a short pass from Patterson for the touchdown. Keene made the extra point to put RTCA on top 14-0 with just under a minute left in the first half.

Memorial tried to find the end zone on the final drive of the first half as they threw a Hail Mary with just five seconds left, but Zack Pendergrass knocked the ball away to preserve the 14-6 lead for RTCA at half time.

 Memorial had the ball to start the second half of the game, but the RTCA defense again came up big as Harris and a host of other players put pressure on their quarterback. RTCA forced a punt and it was a short kick as the Crusaders put pressure on the kicker.

RTCA started their first possession of the second half at their 45-yard line and got right back to work. Patterson found Carnes on an option play to the Memorial 30-yard line and then on the next play Patterson broke several tackles as he went in for the touchdown with 7:20 left in the third quarter. Keene made the PAT to put RTCA on top 21-6.

On the ensuing kickoff Memorial got the ball out to the 20-yard line but a penalty moved them all the way back to their 4-yard line. But on the first play they hit a trick play on a hook-and-ladder pass all the way to the 50-yard line. That was all that the Memorial could do on that possession as the Crusader defense stopped them and took the ball over on downs at midfield with four minutes to go in the third.

The Crusaders were held and forced to punt the ball and it was a good kick by Sterling Damron to the Memorial 10-yard line, but the Blue Thunder returner made one good move and was off to the races for a touchdown. They made a two-point conversion to make the score 21-14 with just over one minute to play in the third quarter.

After the ensuing kickoff RTCA started at their 35-yard line. On he first play Patterson had another big run as he took the ball all the way to the Memorial 24-yard line for a 41-yard gain. On the next play Harris got the call and went in for the touchdown from 24 yards out. Keene made the extra point to give RTCA a 28-14 with 18 seconds left in the third quarter.

RTCA went for an onside kick to catch the Blue Thunder off guard and it worked as Harris came flying in and put a big hit on a Memorial player and came up with the ball for RTCA at the Memorial 43-yard line. RTCA was moved back into their own territory on a couple of penalties, but Patterson stepped up and completed a pass to Stewart over the middle at the 20-yard line and Stewart did the rest as he took it in from there for the 57-yard touchdown with 10:27 left in the game. Keene came in and made the extra point to make the score 35-14.

RTCA had another chance to score late in the game, but down at the Memorial 13-yard line an interception was returned by Memorial for a touchdown. The extra point made the score 35-21 with just 35 seconds left in the game.

Patterson had 21 carries for 225 yards and had 141 yards passing in the game to lead RTCA. Harris added 80 yards on the ground and Stewart had 98 receiving yards.

RTCA Coach Thomas Smith said, I can't say enough about our guys. Defensively we have been closer and closer to playing how we need to and our guys did great tonight. Our line on both sides of the ball fought their tails off and controlled the line for us. I love this group, they have tremendous heart and fight and they have kept working and getting better.

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