Hope drops first game at NACA championship; will play for Division III title

Despite falling 56-24 to Georgia State champion Appling Christian on Wednesday, the Hope Christian Eagles will play for the National Association of Christian Athletes Division II championship Friday at 8 a.m.

With only two teams each in Division II and Division III, the two were combined, with the two winning teams playing for the Division II title and the two losing teams playing for the Division III title.

Appling earned the Division II championship berth by taking an early lead over Hope and never looking back.

The Eagles kept the game close in the opening quarter, with Appling leading just 6-0.

However, Appling took a commanding 30-8 lead at the half with Hope’s lone points coming off a 3-yard pass from quarterback Luke Mahan to Caleb Douglas and a two-point conversion pass from Mahan to Eric Spence.

The Eagles cut the lead to 30-16 on the opening drive of the second half when Mahan connected with wide receiver Will Herring for a 43-yard touchdown pass, followed by another two-point conversion pass from Mahan to Spence.

Appling added 20 more points in the quarter to put the game away before Spence scored on a 4-yard run and added the two-point conversion run in the final quarter to close out the Eagles’ scoring.

Offensively for the Eagles (8-4), Mahan was 12-0f-29 for 176 yards and a pair of touchdowns, while Spence had five catches for 81 yards and a rushing touchdown.

The Eagles managed just 17 yards rushing.

Defensively, Jacob Medders and Caleb Rettig each had 17 tackles, followed by Glyn Glover with 14, Andrew Bell with 12 and Brock Boyd with 11.

Appling will play Lighthouse Christian for the Division II title, while the Eagles will play University Christian of Jacksonville, Fla. for the Division III championship.

The game will be streaming live at NACAsports.com.