Eagles to play for NACA title

By WESLEY HALLMAN / Sports Editor

Hope Christian School will play for a National Association of Christian Athletes Division I football championship in Dayton, Tenn., following a 62-42 win over the Lake Norman Christian School (N.C.) Storm in the semifinals Nov. 10.

Hope Christian will wrap up its 2010 season in the NACA Division I title game Nov. 12 against the Fountain Inn Christian School (S.C.) Falcons.

The Eagles (12-0) will play their final game without senior quarterback Zac Hughes, who suffered a season-ending torn meniscus in the Eagles’ win over rival Evangel in the Alabama Christian Sports Conference championship game.

Junior Eric Spence, who played receiver during the regular season, has stepped in for the injured Hughes in the postseason and completed 16-of-27 passes for 273 yards and three touchdowns in the semifinal victory.

Senior Terrence Moore was on the receiving end of most of Spence’s attempts, as he finished with 187 receiving yards and two touchdowns on six receptions.

Hope Christian racked up 469 total yards on offense, including 172 rushing yards in the victory.

Lake Norman jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter, which marked the first time an opposing team scored the first touchdown or held a lead in a Hope Christian game this season.

The Eagles answered back with a 90-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Moore and a Spence run for the 2-point conversion to cut the lead to 14-8 at the end of the opening quarter.

Hope Christian scored four touchdowns in the second quarter to take control of the game.

Following a Lake Norman touchdown early in the quarter, senior fullback Caleb Rettig responded with a 3-yard touchdown run and Spence converted the 2-point conversion to cut the lead to 22-16.

Lake Norman added a touchdown run to push the lead to 30-16 before sophomore Charles Streets scored on a 7-yard touchdown run and then threw a pass from Moore for the 2-point conversion to cut the lead down to a touchdown.

Lake Norman added another touchdown to push the lead to 12 points, but the Eagles rallied with two touchdowns late in the second quarter to take a 40-36 lead into the locker room at halftime.

Moore reeled in a 48-yard touchdown pass from Spence, who found senior receiver Caleb Douglas open for the 2-point conversion, to cut the lead to 36-32. Moore ended the first half with a 60-yard touchdown reception from Spence and Rettig converted the 2-point conversion to give the Eagles their first lead of the game.

Hope Christian outscored Lake Norman 22-6 in the second half to seal the win.

Moore returned the opening kickoff 59 yards for a touchdown and Spence hit senior receiver Andrew Bell for the 2-point conversion for Hope Christian’s first touchdown in the second half. Spence threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to Douglas and the Eagles converted the 2-point conversion to end the third quarter with a 56-36 lead.

Lake Norman scored its only touchdown of the second half early in the fourth quarter. Junior running back Ben Nafe capped the scoring for the Eagles with his 1-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.

Defensively, senior linebacker Jacob Medders led the Eagles with eight tackles. Junior linebacker Andrew Whitson and Bell added seven tackles each. Bell also recovered a fumble.

Seniors Ryan Gibbens and Phillip Defreese and Kaleb Arnold recorded a sack each.