The Friendship Christian Commanders began their second game of the season against The King’s Academy Lions with a bang.
Right out of the gate the Commanders jumped all over the Lions, scoring six unanswered touchdowns in the first half.
With Friendship’s normal starting quarterback A.J. Long sitting this game out, Price Cochran started his first game for the Commanders, but it was the running backs that proved to be the game changers.
After a 48 yard return by Will Burruss to open the game, Austin Taylor then took the ball 28 yards to draw first blood. Joshua Luck kicked the extra point.
TKA’s Isaiah Jeffers then answered by returning the ball 66 yards as well. However, the Lions would lose fumble two touches later to put control back in the Commanders hands.
The Commanders then kept the ball on the ground, with Taylor and Steven Hollis taking turns carrying the ball downfield. Taylor then broke free for a 32-yard touchdown run, which was followed by another extra point by Luck.
TKA’s second possession also came up short and Justin Truszkowski blocked the punt attempt.
Taylor then took the ball in from 13 yards out for his third touchdown of the quarter.
Friendship wouldn’t stop there though, Hollis then made his name known with runs of 15, 31 and finally 22 yards for a touchdown with 10:45 left in the half.
TKA would lose another fumble that Friendship would capitalize on, with Hollis again running for a touchdown, this time from 6 yards out.
Another turnover for TKA, this time an interception, would also lead to Friendship’s sixth score of the first half.
Cody Walker took the Commanders downfield via a 41-yard run, and then found the end zone on a 7-yard run. Luck’s extra point was missed.
At the half, the Commanders had a commanding lead of 42-0 over the Lions.
TKA came out swinging in the second half, until a mistake on 4th and inches turned the ball over to Friendship.Commander freshman Spencer Burge then answered with a 53-yard touchdown run to put them up 49-0.
The Lions would finally answer late in the third quarter, following a 31-yard kickoff return by Jeffers. Jeffers put the Lions on the board with a 1-yard run. Adam Deatherage missed the extra point.
The Lions would score one more time in the fourth quarter after being driven downfield behind the legs of Isaiah Gilmore and Ridge Palmer.
Palmer would keep the ball himself and run it in for a 2-yard touchdown.
The final score put Friendship over TKA, 49-13.
Friendship Coach John McNeal said he was pleased with the way the team played for their homecoming outing.
“Homecoming is always a game you want a win, so this is a big win for us,” McNeal said. “We’re going to have to look at the film from this and see where we can get better though.”
McNeal said, of the Commanders keeping the ball on the ground, they’re game plan was “pretty vanilla.”
“We had a simple game plan coming in and that’s just what we went with. We kept the ball on the ground behind some of our veteran running backs, but we’ve still got areas to work on,” McNeal said.
McNeal also said he was pleased with the teams play, especially with quarterback Cochran.
“He was nervous at practice yesterday,” McNeal said. “This is his first start, but you know we’ve got guys who will always back him up so in all I’m pleased with the way things turned out.”
McNeal said Long would return for the Commanders next game.
Friendship Christian 49, The King’s Academy 13
Friendship Christian 22 20 7 0—49
The King’s Academy 0 0 6 7—13
Friendship- Taylor 28 run, (Luck kick), 9:26
Friendship- Taylor 32 run, (Luck kick), 4:43
Friendship- Taylor 13 run, (Hawks pass Carman for 2-pt), 1:14
Friendship- Hollis 22 run, (Luck kick), 10:45
Friendship- Hollis 6 run, (Luck kick), 9:06
Friendship- Walker 7 run, (Luck miss kick), 3:56
Friendship- Burge 53 run, (Luck kick), 5:56
TKA- Jeffers 1 run, (Deatherage miss kick), 3:13
TKA- Palmer 2 run, (Deatherage kick), 8:50
First Downs 15 9
Penalties-yards 2-15 1-5
Rushes-yards 46-442 33-248
Passing yards 52 7
Comp.-att.-int. 4-7-0 1-7-1
Fumbles-lost 2-0 3-2
RUSHING — Friendship, Price Cochran 6-[-19], Steven Hollis 11-149, Spencer Burge 9-126, Gage Bentley 6-6, Cody Walker 4-59, John Michael Petty 2-23, Austin Taylor 7-98. TKA, Isaiah Jeffers 17-100, Ridge Palmer 13-128, Ethan McCammon 1-0, Isaiah Gilmore 2-20.
PASSING — Friendship, Price Cochran 3-6-49, Michael Hawks 1-1-3. TKA, Ridge Palmer 1-7-7.
RECEIVING — Friendship, Eli Hunt 1-17, Steven Hollis 1-21, Will Burruss 1-11, Gene Carman 1-3. TKA, Ethan McCammon 1-7.