CCA Eagles drop close one in rematch with Conecuh Springs

CCA's Cole Wilga brings down a Conecuh Springs ball carrier during Friday's matchup

The Cornerstone Christian Eagles’ 6-man football team suffered a tough loss on the road Friday at Conecuh Springs by a final score of 33-31.

Friday’s rematch of the season-opener for both teams started with a turnover as Cornerstone fumbled the opening kickoff. Conecuh recovered the loose ball and scored a play later to jump out in front 7-0.

The Eagles bounced back quickly though with a 7-play, 49-yard drive that ended on a 21-yard touchdown pass on fourth down from Lucas Hale to Saxon Cloud. Cornerstone didn’t convert their extra point try though and still trailed by a point.

Conecuh then answered right back with a 42-yard touchdown run on their next offensive snap and stretched the lead to 14-6.

The Eagles then marched to the end zone once again in just three plays. The first two saw Hale complete passes to Israel Phillips and Matt Johnson for 15 and 27-yard gains. Phillips then punched it in from five yards out for the score. Cornerstone failed to convert after the touchdown again though and still trailed 14-12.

After giving up quick touchdowns on Conecuh’s first two drives, Cornerstone’s defense forced a quick four-and-out to get the ball back for their offense at midfield.

The Eagles’ following drive then stalled after a holding penalty had them facing fourth-and-long. Hale and Matt Johnson then came through in the clutch when the duo connected on fourth down for a 28-yard touchdown pass. Hale and Matt connected once again on the extra-point try to give Cornerstone their first lead at 19-14.

The lead didn’t last for long though as Conecuh answered with a 9-play, 47-yard drive that ended with a touchdown to put them back in front 21-19.

Cornerstone then turned it over on downs in four plays, but Phillips got the ball back four plays later when he picked off a deep Conecuh pass.

The Eagles ended that drive with a punt, but it was muffed by Conecuh and recovered by Matt Johnson. CCA then drove near the goal line in hopes of taking the lead before halftime, but came up five yards short of the end zone before the clock struck zero.

Cornerstone’s defense came up big to start the second half by forcing another turnover on downs near midfield.

Phillips then took off for 28 yards on the Eagles’ next two plays and scored three snaps later from a yard out to put Cornerstone back in front 25-21.

That lead didn’t stand for long again though as Conecuh scored five plays later to jump ahead 27-25.

Cornerstone was then forced to punt before Conecuh drove the length of the field once again and scored on a 40-yard touchdown run to give them a 33-25 edge at the start of the fourth quarter.

Phillips then opened Cornerstone’s next drive with a 7-yard carry before Hale completed a 31-yard strike to Matt Johnson that saw him go down a yard short of the end zone.

Phillips punched in his third touchdown of the night two plays later. The Eagles tried to tie it up with a 2-point try, but missed to make the score 33-31.

Conecuh then drained the clock with their longest drive of the night. They moved all the way to Cornerstone’s 1-yard line before the Eagles came up with the fourth-down stop they needed to give their offense one last chance to capture the lead late.

The Eagles failed to move the ball out of their own end of the field and turned it over on downs after five plays. Conecuh then kneeled it to run out the clock and seal the win.

Hale finished completing 13-of-22 passes for 207 yards and two touchdowns. He also led the Eagles’ defense with 10 tackles.

Phillips led Cornerstone’s running game with 66 yards and three touchdowns on 14 carries. He caught three of Hale’s passes for 28 yards and added six tackles and an interception on defense.

Matt Johnson led the Eagles’ receiving corps with 146 yards and a touchdown on eight receptions. He rushed one time for six yards, had three tackles on defense and recovered a muffed punt.

Cloud finished with 35 yards and a score on three receptions. Tristan Johnson had one carry for four yards and six tackles on defense.

Eli Carter had five tackles and booted a 40-yard punt. Cole Wilga had four tackles, Henry Harrison had three and Ethan Wooten added two.

The Eagles return home for next week’s matchup against Clay County.

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