September 21, 2013

Christian Heritage shuts down Paladins' offense

Chris Whitfield
chriswhitfield@daltoncitizen.com

— Coming into Friday night’s high school football game against Christian Heritage, Fellowship Christian had scored 128 points in three wins.

The Paladins’ scoring average and record both took a hit at Lions Stadium.

Christian Heritage’s defense throttled the Fellowship Christian offensive attack all night, and Christian Heritage quarterback Trevor Brown threw for 310 yards and five touchdowns as the Lions rolled to a 41-0 victory. Christian Heritage improved to 3-1, while Fellowship Christian fell to 3-1.

“Defensively, we have been challenged, and we have been working hard to meet that challenge,” said senior fullback/linebacker Austin Lowe. “We have high expectations for ourselves, and Fellowship Christian is a much better team than last year, but we should have beaten them like this. The challenge is to do it against the top teams in our sub-region.”

Lowe finished with 95 yards and a touchdown rushing and another receiving, but his biggest contributions came at his linebacker spot as the Lions were able to take Paladins quarterback Hunter Bryant out of his rhythm and totally shut down the passing attack. Bryant was 1-of-12 for just five yards in the first half and finished with just 81 yards through the air.

“When we watched the film, the defenses that had the most success against them were the 5-2 and the 4-3,” Lowe said. “That is almost exclusively what we run. The guys up front did a great job all night.”

Christian Heritage head coach Preston Poag also complimented the defensive line.

“We put pressure on him all night,” Poag said. “He has a great arm, but we were able to either hit him right as he threw the ball or make him move around to get him out of sync. Those guys up front let our linebackers roam free, and that was the key to the defense.”

On the offensive side of the ball, the key was Brown.

He accounted for all but 11 yards on the Lions’ 80-yard scoring drive early in the second quarter, and hit Will Fischer for a 31-yard strike the next time the Lions touched the ball. The biggest play, though, was Brown hitting top receiver Nich Bartley on a 4th-and-30 in the waning seconds of the first half. Bartley weaved through the tacklers 42 yards for the score and a 20-0 halftime lead. Christian Heritage wasn’t threatened the rest of the way. Bartley finished with 131 yards and two touchdowns on five receptions. Brown hit Lucas Grant for a 16-yard scoring pass on his last play of the game to put the Lions up 34-0 at the end of the third quarter.

The game was a meeting between two teams in the top 16 of the initial Class-A Power Poll of the season, which was released Friday. Christian Heritage came into the game ranked 10th, while Fellowship Christian was 15th. The top 16 teams in the power polls in both public and private schools advance to the state playoffs.