Cornerstone comes back from 22 points down to beat Southern Prep in thriller

Published 3:37 am Saturday, September 30, 2023

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By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

COLUMBIANA – The Cornerstone Christian Chargers faced a key moment of adversity as they trailed the Southern Prep Fighting Rangers, 22-0, after the first quarter.

Their response not only decided the game, but it extended Cornerstone’s undefeated season and put the Chargers a step closer towards the No. 1 seed in the playoffs. Cornerstone won, 52-48, against Southern Prep at home on Friday, Sept. 28.

“We started very slow and had to battle back,” Cornerstone coach James Lee said. “We got down 22-0 early and had to fight back, which is a testament to how hard these guys battled through adversity to get the win.”

The offense was led by another standout day from Zeke Adams, who rushed for 303 yards off 28 attempts. The Chargers quarterback scored seven total touchdowns, five rushing and two passing, and also added three 2-point conversions.

After the Fighting Rangers scored an early touchdown, quarterback Kevin Mason added two passing touchdowns in four minutes to put Southern Prep up 22-0 as the first quarter drew to a close.

Cornerstone responded with its first points of the game thanks to a Zeke Adams rushing touchdown and two-point conversion from the quarterback to cut the lead to 22-8.

Southern Prep immediately responded with a touchdown pass from Mason to Caiden Jackson, but a failed two-point conversion left the lead at just 20. Cornerstone cut that lead to 12 on its next drive as Adams found Keaton Keef for a touchdown and Adams ran in a two-point try.

A couple minutes later, Adams added his second rushing touchdown of the game, which made Southern Prep’s lead just 28-22.

Mason scored a rushing touchdown to add six points to the Fighting Rangers’ lead, but with two minutes to go, Adams connected with Seth Dillard on a touchdown pass, and after Drake Dunning scored the two-point run, Cornerstone trailed just 34-30 at halftime.

Just a minute into the second half, the Chargers took their first lead of the game on another rushing touchdown and two-point conversion by Adams.

Mason erased that 38-34 lead shortly after with his second touchdown pass to Jackson, and the two-point throw to Jahziyah Anderson gave Southern Prep a 42-38 lead.

Cornerstone retook the lead with six points on the ground from Adams to put the Chargers up, 44-42, and cap off a busy four-minute stretch.

The defenses held the opposing offenses quiet until seven minutes remained in the game, which was when Southern Prep reclaimed the lead with a touchdown pass from Mason to Caleb Cole.

However, the Fighting Rangers couldn’t convert the two-point try, which gave Cornerstone a chance to win the game with a trip to the end zone as it trailed by just four.

Adams ran for another touchdown and two-point conversion to put Cornerstone up 52-48, a lead that the Chargers held for the final three minutes to seal the win.

In addition to Adams’ strong performance on the ground, he also had 64 passing yards in the air for 367 all-purpose yards. Of his four completions, two were to Keaton Keef for 41 yards and a touchdown, and two were to Dillard for 23 yards and a touchdown. Drake Dunning also had 22 rushing yards off 14 attempts.

Adams also led all tacklers on the defense with 10 tackles. Noah Schober and Malachi Adams each had five tackles, and Schober and Keef also had an interception each.

Cornerstone will face Trinity Christian next in an in-county matchup on Oct. 6.