Hope Christian takes down Ballard

Hope's Zach Gramstad dragging a Ballard defender toward the end zone. (Contributed/Twanna Arnold)

Hope’s Zach Gramstad dragging a Ballard defender toward the end zone. (Contributed/Twanna Arnold)

By JOSH ETHRIDGE/For the Reporter

ALABASTER — Inclement weather was a concern for high school football teams all across central Alabama on Sept. 5. The Hope Christian Eagles were included, as their game against the Ballard Christian Eagles was delayed 45 minutes as a result of lightning in the area.

The Hope Christian offense was not able to get the ball going early, following the lengthy delay. After just three plays they were forced to punt the ball to Ballard.

Following the Hope drive, the Ballard Eagles had good field position, starting the drive at midfield. They were able to pound the ball down to the Hope 14-yard line, but turned the ball over on downs.

Hope got on the board first on the ensuing possession. Dillon Thompson hauled in a 14-yard touchdown pass, which was set up by a 34-yard run by Thompson, earlier in the drive. The Hope Eagles led 6-0 after a failed two-point conversion with 4:08 left in the first quarter.

The Ballard Eagles were quick to answer the Hope scoring drive, as they scored on a 35-yard touchdown run. Their two-point conversion attempt was successful giving them an early 8-6 lead.

Ballard continued their scoring two drives later on a 47-yard touchdown passing play, giving the Eagles an eight point lead.

On the next play from scrimmage the Hope Eagles answered with a 55-yard pass and catch touchdown from Thompson to Juan Cuellar. The score deadlocked the game at 14 with 7:38 left in the half.

Hope scored one more touchdown before the half on a 14-yard pass from Thompson to Cannon Fuqua. However, Ballard answered their touchdown with one of their own, sending the game into the half tied at 22.

The second half of the game was the Hope Christian show, as they outscored the Ballard eagles 34-0. Thompson and Fuqua were able to connect on two more scoring plays and Cuellar was able to find the end zone again, this time on a running play.

Hope defeated Ballard with a final score of 56-22.

“We came in here fired up and we had to back down and wait for the weather to pass,” said Hope Christian Head Coach Tony Nafe about the delayed start of the game. “We had 20 minutes instead of an hour to warm up, so it broke our usual routine.”

Dillon Thompson finished the day with 157 yards rushing and accounted for six touchdowns. Cannon Fuqua had three touchdown receptions and a fumble recovery

The Hope Christian Eagles will go on the road to face Christian Community on Sept. 19.