Christian Life almost had Friday’s contest with Madison Prep tucked safely away in its back pocket by halftime.
Instead, the Crusaders withstood a spirited second-half Chargers’ rally, and needed Dameion Lee’s late field goal to salt away a 24-14 win at Christian Life.
Madison Prep (3-3, 0-1) fell behind 21-0 at the break, but closed to within a touchdown after scoring twice in the fourth quarter. Also playing defense, Lee snuffed out the Chargers’ final hope with an interception in the final minute.
“We weren’t ourselves (in the second half), but the credit goes to (Madison Prep),” CLA coach Keith Dooley said after his squad improved to 5-1 overall, and 1-0 in District 6-1A.
Sidney Nesom led Christian Life with 107 yards rushing. Tejuan Spurlock topped Madison Prep’s ground attack with 95 yards and touchdown.
Jarvis Antwine’s 48-yard fumble return sparked a first-half dominated by Christian Life. Jacob Williams hooked up with Justin Hutchinson for a 48-yard score, and Malik Harrison added a 6-yard run boosting CLA to a 21-0 halftime lead.
“We turned it on a little too late,” MPA coach Michael Roach said. “We played two different football games. In the first half we came out and played like a ninth grade team. In the second half we showed some grit.”
Madison Prep, which recovered an onside kick to start the third, held CLA to one second half first down until five minutes were left in the game.
Spurlock’s 24-yard run on the first play of the fourth pulled the Chargers to within 21-7. Then, after forcing a punt, they drove 83 yards to get within a touchdown on Everette Richard’s 1-yard sneak with 5:54 to play.
In the first half, the Crusaders built their 21-0 lead with help from a jittery Madison Prep squad that was flagged for 10 penalties and lost two of three fumbles.
The game was scoreless midway through the first quarter when Richard tried a handoff to Spurlock at midfield. The pair fumbled the exchange, and Antwine fielded a perfect bounce at the MPA 48. From there, the 5-8 senior lineman rumbled in untouched as the Crusaders took a 7-0 lead.
“We wanted to continue the momentum after the fumble, and capitalize the best we could,” Dooley said. “Luckily, up until halftime, we were able to do what we wanted to do.”
Nesom’s 14-yard run and a subsequent facemask penalty on MPA sparked the Crusaders on their next series. Williams connected with Hutchinson on a short inside route one play later, and Hutchinson turned it into a 48-yard score.
Lee’s extra point made it 14-0, a score that stood after one quarter.
Early in the second, CLA went 75 yards in eight plays to take score its third touchdown. Nesom’s 30-yard run was the key play. Malik Harrison finished the drive with a 6-yard run from a Wildcat formation.
Madison Prep, which crossed midfield just once in the half, held the ball for the final 4:37 of the second quarter. Aided by a fourth down conversion when CLA had 12 men on the field, the Chargers moved from their 5 to the MPA 38 before time ran out.