Hope lays it on the Lions

The Golden Acres Christian Lions kept the game close for 40 minutes Friday, but unfortunately for the Lions 35 of those minutes were under a lightning delay as the Hope Christian School Eagles pulled away early to take the win, 44-6.

Following the Lions’ first play from scrimmage, a torrential downpour and lightning rolled into the area, forcing the game to be suspended for 40 minutes.

But when play resumed, Zac Hughes took over and the Eagles (6-2) never looked back.

Caleb Douglas gave the Eagles the ball on an interception on a halfback pass, and a roughing the punter call kept the Hope drive alive before Hughes scampered 36 yards to give the home team the lead, 8-0.

After forcing the Lions to punt, Hughes went back to work and capped the Eagles’ drive with a 1-yard touchdown run.

Hughes put the Eagles’ defense on the board on the next possession when he made a one-handed interception and returned it 25 yards to give Hope a 20-0 first-quarter lead.

In the second quarter, Glyn Glover took a punt return 78 yards for the score to increase the lead to 28-0.

Both teams fumbled a total of three times on three consecutive plays in the second quarter before the Lions got on the board with a 17-yard touchdown pass.

Hughes added a 50-yard touchdown run for the Eagles before the half, but the run was called back and time ran out on Hope.

In the second half, the Eagles wasted no time getting to the end zone as Hughes connected with Luke Mahan, who in turn flipped the ball to Will Herring for the 55-yard hook-and-ladder touchdown pass to increase the lead to 36-6.

Hughes nabbed his second interception of the game on Golden Acres’ next possession, and then the quarterback went to work on offense, racing 30 yards for the Eagles’ final score of the game.

Offensively for the Eagles, Hughes had 104 of Hope’s 204 total rushing yards.

Defensively, Caleb Rettig and Jacob Medders each finished with 14 tackles, while Karry Jones was next with nine.

“I think they’ve changed mentality a little bit,” Hope head coach Mark Rettig said of his defense. “The guys are starting to get it together.”

The Eagles’ defense finished with six interceptions, including two picks by Hughes, and one each by Douglas, Rettig, Charles Streets and Andrew Bell.

The Eagles return to action Friday for homecoming as they take on the Evangel Family Christian Saints. Hope defeated the Saints in the second game of the season, 46-8.

Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.