By Scott Herpst
Walker County Messenger
With a high-powered attack averaging nearly 38 points per game so far this season, the Christian Heritage Lions have the offense to compete with anyone in Region 6-A.
Now they are starting to prove they have the defense to go with it.
The Lions pitched their third road shutout of the season Friday night, stymieing the previously once-beaten Gordon Lee Trojans 35-0 to temporarily take hold of the top of the Sub-region 6A-A standings at 2-0.
Christian Heritage coach Preston Poag said the message all week leading up to the game was about earning respect.
“It seems like we haven’t been getting very much respect, but we told our kids that beating a team like (Gordon Lee) would get us some respect,” said Poag, whose team improved to 5-1 overall with their fifth straight victory. “We’ve got Darlington coming in next week. It’s going to be a good game and we’re excited about it.”
Quarterback Trevor Brown was a sharp 18 of 28 through the air for 260 yards and three scores, but it was the Lions pressure defense that stole the show. Gordon Lee’s running game managed just 37 yards on 26 rushes
Gordon Lee managed just three first downs all night, and the Trojans were 2 of 11 on third down.
Austin Lowe’s 6-yard touchdown run and Matt Cook’s 5-yard burst accounted for the first quarter scores, and Christian Heritage would tack on one final score in the closing seconds of the half. Mixing the pass and the run, the Lions drove 82 yards in 16 plays, taking more than five minutes off the clock. A 20-yard catch by Lowe on a fourth-down fake punt kept the drive alive and Nich Bartley’s 3-yard scoring catch with 2.8 seconds left and the extra point gave the Lions a comfortable 21-0 lead at the break.
A 48-yard Will Fischer touchdown catch and the ensuing extra point made it 28-0 with 7:13 left in the third, and they would add one final score midway through the fourth. A punishing hit by Lowe popped the ball free from Gordon Lee quarterback Hayden Casteel near midfield and lineman Harrison Kranzlein returned it to the Trojans’ 36-yard line. Three plays later, Brown hit Brian Pierce on a wheel route for a 33-yard scoring strike. The Lions forced two fumbles on the night and came up with three sacks, two by senior defensive end Jake Stokes.