HCA heading to state championship game
Savanna Pope Sports Writer
It was another decisive victory for Harrell Christian Academy on Friday. This time it was in the second round of the NCIHSAA playoffs against Christ School of Arden, located off U.S. 74 between Henderson and Asheville. They will play next week for the NCIHSAA State Championship.
The Crusaders beat the Greenies 57-20.
In the first half, the Crusaders managed to score twice for every time the Greenies made it across the goal line. At halftime, the score was 30-14.
C.S. put 6 on the board late in the third quarter. Harrells senior Kelly Nelms started a drive with a 50 yard kick off return, but an interception by Christ School brought it to a sudden halt. Before the Greenies could get their groove going, though, Crusader Dakota Boggs managed to swat down a C.S. pass and hold on to it for an interception that led to a Sammy Dixon touch down with 1:55 left in the third.
Going into the fourth quarter, the score was 36-20.
The ball stayed in HCA’s hands for most of the fourth quarter which led to three TDs. The first one was a power rush by Dixon. About 2 minutes later, senior Zach Carlton raced across the line from 68 yards out to make the score 50-20. The final nail came with about 3 minutes left in the game and Crusader Nelms scored and kicked his own point after.
Harrell’s head coach Brian Aldridge was thrilled with the win and extremely proud of his team.
“I thought the defense really stepped up, because we made an alignment adjustment with our defensive tackles. I thought we played the best defense we’ve played all year,” he asserted. “We just had to widen our tackles, because they were getting too tight, and we shot the gap that freed our linemen back up and that gave us a good run.”
Harrells went with their ground game against the Greenies and it worked well. The Crusaders had 14 first downs in the game.
Senior Zach Carlton rushed for 189 yards in 9 carries that included 3 TDs and 2 2-point conversions. Senior Kelly Nelms was 5 for 113 yards with 2 TDs, plus a PAT kick. Junior Sammy Dixon was 24 for 186 with 3 TDs and 2 2-point conversions; and senior Channing Kelly was 8 for 34 yards.
On defense, quarterback O.H. Rouse had an incredible 14 tackles; Frederick Strickland, 11 tackles and 2 sacks; Nelms, 9 tackles; Sammy Dixon, 11 tackles; Zach Carlton, 4 tackles and 1 interception; Ben Parker, 4 tackles; Zack Batts, 1 interception; Dakota Boggs, 4 tackles and 1 interception; Channing Kelly, 4 tackles.
HCA (9-3), ranked third in the 2A brackets, will face No. 2 Davidson Day School (11-1) next Friday night for the ultimate high school prize.
“For our next game, we have nothing to lose. They (D.D.S.) are one of the best teams in North Carolina. So, we’re going to get ourselves prepared, were going to play, and we are just going to enjoy the moment,” Coach Aldreidge stated.
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