Eagles win NACA football championship

By WESLEY HALLMAN / Sports Editor

Hope Christian School sophomore Dillon Thompson isn’t used to starting the game behind center for the Eagles.

With senior Eric Spence out of the lineup with an injury, Thompson held the key to the Eagles’ offense in the National Association of Christian Athletes Division 4 championship game Nov. 11 against Lake Norman Christian School of Huntersville, N.C.

It took a few snaps for Thompson to get his wits about him, but the young signal caller carried Hope Christian to the Division 4 title following a 14-12 victory against Lake Norman.

Hope Christian coach Mark Rettig said he had faith in Thompson.

“With a little encouragement from me and several energy bars, he finally woke up and started playing ball,” Rettig said.

Thompson scored the game-winning touchdown with his 3-yard scoring run in the fourth quarter.

Thompson, who finished 2-of-5 passing for 30 yards and a touchdown, had plenty of help with running backs Reid Allen and Ben Nafe in the backfield.

Allen rushed for a team-high 64 yards on 19 carries. Nafe finished with 43 yards, including a touchdown on 14 carries.

“Nafe did a good job running the ball,” Rettig said. “Reid jumped in there and made an impact.”

Timothy Bell caught three passes for 30 yards in the win, including a 19-yard touchdown reception from Thompson.

Nafe was named the championship game’s offensive MVP, while Kaleb Arnold earned defensive MVP honors.

Nafe, Allen and Bell were each named to the NACA all-tournament team, along with senior Andrew Whitson.

Rettig said the championship was a great way to cap the 2011 season.

“It was a big deal for us,” Rettig said.