11 21 17 RTCA Football       It was a disappointing trip to Macon last Friday night for the Crusaders of Robert Toombs Christian Academy as they fell in the GISA State AA Championship Game to the Blue Thunder of Memorial Day. RTCA never got the offense going and lost the game 21-0. These two teams played earlier in the season with RTCA winning that game 35-21, which made this defeat even harder.

            RTCA got the ball first and early in the game RTCA was moving the ball with runs from Torrey Patterson and Jalin Harris. Then a big 45-yard run for a touchdown by Harris with 9:25 left in the first quarter was called back on a penalty against RTCA. Tackles for losses on the next two plays by Memorial forced RTCA to punt the ball away.

            Memorial took over at their 31-yard line with just over eight minutes left in the opening quarter. They moved the ball out across midfield and continued to move the ball well on their first drive of the game. Penalties killed their drive and forced them to punt the ball back to the Crusaders.

            Harris picked up a couple of good runs and then a completion to Sensier Carnes and a penalty against Memorial moved the ball all the way to the 21-yard line. Penalties killed RTCA's drive and they turned the ball over on downs at the 31-yard line.

            Memorial went to the air on the next series and moved the ball out across midfield. They got down to the 19-yard line and then a run to the 11 set up a touchdown pass for the Blue Thunder with 7:07 left in the first half of the game. They tacked on the extra point to lead 7-0.

           After stopping RTCA on their next drive, Memorial took over at the RTCA 41-yard line. After two short runs, they got a big play for 36-yards on a pass to the RTCA 3-yard line. Two plays later they were in the end zone with 3:21 left in the half. With the extra point Memorial was on top 14-0 over RTCA.

            Patterson had a good return on the ensuing kickoff to the Memorial 49-yard line. RTCA picked up a first down at the 38-yard line and then a big run from Carnes took it to the 22-yard line, but at the end of the play they stripped the ball out and recovered it and returned it to their 31 with just 44 seconds to play in the half.

            On the first play Memorial fumbled the ball and Carnes came up with the ball at the 29-yard line to give RTCA some new life. RTCA was out of timeouts at this point though, and tried to hurry up and work down the field with just 34 seconds to play. Carnes threw a halfback pass to A.J. Stewart to the 11-yard line and then a run got them to the two, but time ran out on RTCA and the game went to halftime with RTCA trailing 14-0.

           Memorial had the ball to start the second half of the game and a big pass play moved the ball across midfield. They got to the RTCA 20, but two big penalties pushed them all the way back to the 44-yard line.

            RTCA began at their 20-yard line after the Memorial punt. RTCA had a big run by Carnes to the 48 and then a run by Harris got RTCA to the Memorial 32. But again the RTCA offense stalled and turned the ball over on downs with just 48 seconds left in the third quarter.

            Memorial quickly worked the ball down the field and go it to the 1-yard line of RTCA,setting up their third touchdown of the game on a short run with 10:15 left in the game. They kicked the extra point to lead 21-0 over RTCA.

            Memorial recovered a squid kick that bounced off an RTCA player, but the RTCA defense did a good job and held them and forced a punt.

            RTCA did get their first sack of the game with five minutes to play in the game when Blaine Miller got a hand on the quarterback of Memorial, and Carnes got an interception with four minutes to play, but RTCA never threatened on offense.

            RTCA Coach Thomas Smith said, “I have to tip my hat to Memorial. It is hard to beat a good team twice. Early on we looked a bit nervous and had a few things go against us that hurt. But this is a special group and they easily could have laid down, but we just kept fighting. Those seniors have played in two State Championships and they are just a great group to work with.

            “I thought we had some spurts where we moved the ball well but just shot ourselves in the foot. On defense we did a good job on the run, but they did a good job on third-and-long, and that was the difference tonight.

            “I'm a blessed person to be able to come to work and work with these kids and they are just a joy to work with. They come to work everyday and I just enjoy every minute of it.”


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