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Turnovers doom Victory Christian against Russell Christian


Victory Christian Academy running back Preston Kinard carries the ball against Russell Christian Academy Friday.

Victory Christian Academy running back Preston Kinard carries the ball against Russell Christian Academy Friday. Photo by: David Miller/Special to The Dispatch  Buy this photo.


By David Miller, Special to The Dispatch



It was over before the end of the first quarter. 


The Victory Christian Academy football team committed three of its seven turnovers on its first four possessions against Russell Christian Academy on Friday night, and the Warriors scored on all three. Victory Christian cut the deficit to 14 points early in the second quarter, but it turned the ball over on three of its next four possessions and dug too deep of a hole en route to a 51-21 loss. 


"With seven turnovers, you're not going to win many games doing that," said Victory Christian Chris Hamm coach, whose team slipped to 3-1 and 2-1 in the Christian Football Association. 


RCA (3-0) overcame 17 penalties for 152 yards by not turning the ball over and hitting big plays in the passing game. Quarterback Drew Taylor threw five touchdown passes and ran for two more. He was 12-for-23 for 257 yards and had scoring passes of 55, 60, 64, and 65 yards, two of which came on third downs where the line-to-gain was 15 yards or greater. 


Russell Christian first-year head coach Chad Eaves said the Warriors did a good job of mixing in short passes and quarterback runs to lure Victory Christian's defensive backs closer to the line of scrimmage. 


"They did a good job of setting their big plays up," Hamm said. "They had one where they kept throwing it in the flat. We knew it was coming, but we bit up and they got behind us. Give them credit. I feel like we could have put a little more pressure on the quarterback and not give them the time to throw. There were a lot of mental mistakes tonight." 


Russell Christian's defense continued its suffocating play by holding quarterback Gavin Forrester to 5-for-14 passing for 104 yards and four interceptions. Taylor intercepted two of Forrester's passes. 


The Warriors have allowed 27 points this season. 


Still, Eaves was disappointed in the number of penalties his players committed and the Warriors' inconsistent play against the run. 


"We just didn't play as sharp as we should have," Eaves said. "We had a very unfocused week of practice. Defense wasn't as good as they should have been. We gave up too many run plays. We worked on the counter play all week, and we were still vulnerable to it." 


Hamm said the biggest shift in momentum came after the Eagles finally scored midway through the second quarter, when Jay Elmore skied above a defender for a touchdown catch. Russell Christian answered in three plays on the ensuing drive when Moore hit Taylor Wood for 60 yards and a score up the right sideline. Then, Forrester was intercepted three plays later on third-and-5. The Warriors scored on a 64-yard pass three plays later to take a 34-7 halftime lead. 


"Right there is where the game began to get away from a mental standpoint, coming back out 34-7," Hamm said. "If we could have tacked on a couple of touchdowns and tightened it up right before halftime we may have been able to make something happen. 


"I think we began to press a little bit trying to make up the deficit quicker than we should have. But again, we turned the ball over way too much to have a chance to win." 


Preston Kinard led the Eagles with 85 yards on 13 carries. He also had a 40-yard touchdown catch. 


"He's run hard every opportunity he's got, and tonight was no exception," Hamm said of Kinard. "In the first half, we were tentative, on our heels a little bit, and he came in and kind of gave us a little spark there with his running." 


Linebacker Kody Anthony left the game late with a leg injury and didn't return. Hamm said the injury could be to Anthony's ankle, but they were unsure of the severity. 


"I hated it for him because he was playing sideline to sideline, playing excellent at middle linebacker," Hamm said.



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