Kingwood rallies for homecoming win

By CHRIS MEGGINSON / For the Reporter

ALABASTER – Kingwood Christian rallied late to claim a Homecoming victory over Hope Christian School, 21-14, for its first win of the season Friday.

“It’s good to see the kids learn how to finally deal with some adversity and come through during tough times, especially with how young we are,” said Kingwood Coach Sheldon Ward. “I have to give hats off to my defense. They played lights out. We left some opportunities on the field in the first half and have to learn to capitalize on those.”

Hope took an 8-0 lead to start the game on a touchdown from sophomore QB Jackson Davis, but Kingwood responded in the second quarter to make it 8-7 when Tony Ruiz recovered a Michael Williams fumble in the end zone for a touchdown. Josh Velo followed with the PAT kick.

Trailing 14-7 midway in the fourth quarter, Tyler Henderson scrambled and found Jontae King on a touchdown pass to pull the Lions within a point, 14-13. The PAT was no good. King later gave the Lions the lead, 19-14, on a touchdown run with roughly three minutes to play. Hunter Lodge converted the 2-point play to give KCS a touchdown lead.

Following the go-ahead score, Dallas Toles recovered a mistakenly kicked onside kick, but the Lions were stopped on four downs. Chase Walker picked off a pass with just over a minute to play to secure the Kingwood win with no Hope timeouts remaining.

Davis, who began the season as Hope’s third string but won the starting job last week, was injured on the final play of the first half. The Eagles worked three signal callers in the second half: Juan Cuellar, Chance Washburn and Josh Patton.

Cuellar received the majority of the snaps in the second half and led Hope’s ground game with 68 yards rushing, including an Eagles’ TD in the fourth quarter. Davis was 4-for-10 passing for 67 yards in the first half.

“It was a tough loss. I’m disappointed in the loss, but I’m proud of how they played,” Hope Coach Tony Nafe said. “We’ve had some struggles the last couple of weeks where the wheels came off, but even though we lost tonight we got those wheels put back on.”

Hope falls to 3-4 on the season and 1-3 against 11-man competition. The Eagles travel to Ezekiel Academy in Montgomery on Oct. 7, while Kingwood (1-5) will host Coosa Valley Academy.

“I really like the bottom end of our schedule. I knew the first five games would be tough. Hopefully we can pull together and be a team now and try to make it to the playoffs,” said Ward.