Cornerstone advances to state championship with win over Evangel Montgomery

Published 12:59 am Friday, November 10, 2023

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By SCOTT MIMS | Special to the Reporter

COLUMBIANA – The Cornerstone Christian Chargers are headed to the AISA 8-Man state championship game after a 44-20 victory over the Evangel Christian Academy Lions of Montgomery on Thursday night, Nov. 9.

The Chargers were neck-and-neck with the Lions in the first half, but in the third and fourth quarters, they pulled away to control their own destiny and score 30 points in the second half alone.

Cornerstone coach James Lee said he was proud of the progress the team had made.

“I’m speechless,” he said immediately after the game. “They’ve always battled—just ups and downs and we’ve persevered for so long. This is a big step for our program and these young men.”

Charger quarterback Zeke Adams drew first blood, and the resulting 2-point conversion made it 8-0 in the first quarter. Then, the Lions’ Mekhi Williams answered with 6:41 in the second, and the game was tied 8-8.

Evangel’s DJ Mack stacked on another 6 points with 1:07 before the half, but with seconds remaining, the Chargers struck again as Adams completed a touchdown pass to Noah Schober. Neither conversion attempt was good, resulting in a 14-14 halftime score.

Cornerstone recovered an onside kick just prior to the half, but the resulting drive ended with an Evangel interception.

After the break, the Chargers came out fully recharged as Adams scored a rushing touchdown and later fired a rocket to Schober, who took it all the way and made it 28-14. Adams would cross the goal line again with 28 seconds left in the third; the conversion put the Chargers up 36-14.

Adams found the Lions’ end zone again with 11:07 in the fourth and also ran a conversion to give the Chargers their 44 points on the night.

Evangel Montgomery would answer with another rushing touchdown, but it would be too little too late as the Chargers were too far ahead.

Adams completed 5 of 15 passes for 169 yards and rushed for 261 yards on 23 carries Thursday night, and T.C. Sanders rushed for 12 yards on one carry. Schober caught three passes for 99 yards, while Keaton Keef had 60 yards receiving and Drake Dunning had 11 yards receiving.

Now, Cornerstone will face Springwood on Thursday, Nov. 16 at Cramton Bowl in Montgomery. Lee shared some thoughts going into the biggest game of the year:

“They’re well coached, they’ve got great players. We’ve got to be on our A-game to beat them. We’re excited about the opportunity and the chance to do it,” he said.