KENNESAW, GA – Christ Prep and Tomball Christian of Houston, TX battled for 48 minutes to a 3-3 tie. In overtime Noah Blair completed a touchdown pass to Micah Krause and then intercepted his fourth pass of the game to seal the victory 10-3. Neither team was able to run the ball effectively. Christ Prep was without several key players but the defense was able to shutdown the Warriors. CPA also struggled on special teams throughout the contest but was able to make enough plays to advance to the National Homeschool Football Association championship against Landmark Christian (Cincinnati) who defeated Tulsa NOAH in the other semi-final.
The Patriot defense forced a three and out on the first four Tomball offensive possessions and then Coy Goss intercepted a pass to put CPA in good field position but Grant Gilkeson’s field goal was partially blocked and the score remained 0-0.
The second half was more of the same. Late in the third quarter the Warriors returned a Gilkeson punt for a touchdown but the play was nullified by a block in the back penalty. Undaunted, the Warriors completed two passes to advance to the Patriot 3 yardline but went backwards from there. The Patriot defense recorded three tackles for loss which when combined with a Tomball penalty pushed the ball back to the 19 yardline. The Warrior Field Goal attempt was good to make the score 3-0 and that is how the third quarter ended and momentum clearly in favor of Tomball.
The CPA offense faltered but Blair picked off his second pass of the game to set up the attack at the Warrior 25 yardline. The Tomball defense stood firm and Christ Prep was forced to settle for a Gilkeson 28 yard field goal to tie the game.
Again, the Tomball offense was forced to throw and again Blair was there for the interception to end the threat. After an excellent punt by Gilkeson the Warriors were unable to even attempt a “Hail Mary” pass and so the game went to overtime.
CPA had first possession in overtime and on 3rd and 6 from the 11 yardline Blair found all alone Krause in the right side of the endzone for the touchdown. Time stood still, for the spectators, as the ball soared toward Krause who said “I was just thinking ‘Don’t drop it!'”. Gilkeson’s extra point was good and the game was in the capable hands of the Patriot defense.
Tomball attempted a pass out of the wildcat formation to open their offensive possession and nearly had the ball intercepted when Blair and Grant Stamatis collided to knock the ball away from each other. On 2nd down the Warriors threw to the left side of the endzone and Blair was there for his fourth interception of the game. The Patriot faithful breathed a collective sigh of relief and preparations for the championship game on Saturday afternoon could commence. Final score: Christ Prep 10, Tomball Christian 3 in OT.
- This made the first time since 2014 that CPA advanced to the NHFA championship game.
- The overtime win was the second such victory at the NHFA tournament. In 2012, the Patriots defeated North Georgia on a Timothy Finley field goal to escape by a score of 15-12.
- The Patriot defense allowed only 12 yards rushing for the game and 55 total yards.
- The 84 rushing yards by the offense was
- Freshman Paul Hernandez led all rushers with 36 yards on 10 carries.
- Krause notched his second receiving touchdown of the season.
- Blair’s four interception game seems outlandish. Only three players had ever recorded four interceptions in a season. Blair matched that total in one game and brought his season interception total to 9 and career total to 21.
- Coach Hurley reminded the the team “Guys, do you know where we are staying? We are staying at Camp Gideon!” referencing the book of Judges and the victory of the Israelites over the Midianites.
- Coach Geeding, “I’m happy for the guys who didn’t get to play to have a chance to redeem themselves on Saturday.”
- Blair on his interceptions, “I don’t know why they kept throwing over there but I was fine with it. I usually don’t get that many chances.”