KENNESAW, GA – Christ Prep dominated Landmark Christian (Cincinnati) 21-0 to win their first NHFA championship and the school’s third national football title of any kind. As per usual the Patriot defense led the way by shutting down an excellent Eagle offense which was limited to 181 total yards. The Patriots got a career day from senior wide receiver Cadin Ferren who snagged two touchdown passes from Noah Blair. Freshman Sway Jenkins led the ground attack with 103 yards on 20 carries and Blair chipped in 25 yards and a TD.
CPA forced the Eagles to punt on their first possession and then promptly marched 90 yards in 12 plays for Blair’s scamper off the right side. The extra point by Grant Gilkeson was good and the drive consumed over 8 minutes of the quarter. Landmark launched an air attack and penetrated into the Patriot redzone but costly mistakes kept the Eagles off the board. A personal foul penalty pushed them outside the 20 yardline and then #11 Elisha Moore dropped a sure touchdown pass from quarterback Austin Goodpaster. Grant Stamatis picked off Goodpaster on the next play to end the initial threat.
The Eagles then pushed deep into Christ Prep territory on their next possession but were unable to convert on 4th and 9 from the 28 yardline and then neither team was able to generate any more offense before halftime so the score remained 7-0.
The second half began with both teams being forced to punt but then the Patriots marched to the Landmark 33 yardline with Jenkins picking up 31 yards on 5 carries. From there, Blair found Ferren for a 27 yard score to make it 14-0.
The Christ Prep defense forced another 3 and out and this time the offense began at their own 26 yardline. Blair found Micah Krause for a 34 yard catch and run that moved the ball to the Eagles 24 and that was the end of the 3rd quarter. Blair then rolled right and found Ferren again for another score, this time on a ball that was tipped and fell right into the senior receiver’s hands at the 5 and he jogged into the endzone.
Once again, the teams traded punts and then the Eagles began their final offensive drive at their own 11 yardline with backup quarterback Elisha Moore leading the team down the field. Coach Geeding’s defense bent but didn’t break. The Eagles used the passing game to push down to the Christ Prep 5 yardline but Noah Blair tackled Nate Moore for a 13 yard loss. CPA ran out the remaining time and ran off the field victorious!
It was a both joy and relief for a team with high expectation. To meet and exceed those expectations after many challenges along the way demonstrates the resiliency of the 2018 squad.
- CPA is now 1-1 in NHFA Championship games.
- The 11 wins is a school record. The 84.6% winning percentage is the second highest for any CPA team behind the 2005 squad which finished 8-1.
- The team finished with the second best all-time rushing yards per game with 229.0 behind the 2010 team which averaged 286.3.
- Connor Hurley finished with the second most tackles all-time with 314.
- Grant Stamatis set records for all-time and single season in punt returns and punt return yardage. Over his four years he returned 50 punts for 537 yards.
- Grant Gilkeson finished with the second highest kicking %; he went 17 of 18 on PAT and 2 of 4 field goal attempts.
- Blair finished with his second highest QB Rating on the season going 4-9-0 2TD for 92 yards.
- Christian Einess recorded his first tackle for loss.
- Offensive Coordinator Tim Hammack – “All night long we were feeding it to Ewan and Adam’s side and they did the job.” – referring to left guard Ewan Cornstubble and left tackle Adam Wilkins.
- Defesive Coordinator Jay Geeding on the defense – “What they did statistically was extremely rare. I would put them up against a 5A or 6A or whatever A team. I am thankful for how coachable they were and their hearts for football and hearts for the brotherhood.”
- Coach Tom Hurley – “We had lofty goals. The overarching goal was to win the national championship and we have done that. This is special to be the last team standing.”
- Sway Jenkings on his running success – “Jesus! A lot on the blocking by Conner and the offensive line. They protected me. It made me want to protect them to.”
- Micah Krause on his reception – “It hit my shoulder pad and then the guy hit me and it was even closer to me so I just reached out and grabbed it and took off.
- Coy Goss on the key to the win – “We stayed together. We didn’t turn on each other. It’s been that way all year. We just kept getting stronger and stronger.”