It wasn’t the best finish to a football season. As a matter of fact First Presbyterian Christian Academy lost 43-8 at Robert Toombs Christian Academy Friday, but the team finished victoriously overall.
“We had the most wins in a season,” Highlander football coach Terry Middleton said about going 4-5 overall and making the playoffs. “We have to travel, but we are in the playoffs.”
This is the second season FPCA made the playoffs. Middleton said the next milestone will be earning a first post-season win to advance to round two. The coach said netting four wins in their nine game season shows just how far the program has come.
“It shows that the program is moving forward,” he said. “Each year we have gotten better.”
FPCA started its football program in 2012 going 0-10. The boys fought hard but also went 0-10 in 2013.
Middleton took over as the head coach in the midst of the 2014 season and the boys went 2-8. Middleton repeated a two-win season in 2015.
But this season, his once-young players matured as seniors, who made up the majority of the squad. They’ve been there and done that when it came to playing iron-man football. And they were ready to prove their skills.
“We’ve gone out there and we’ve won games,” Middleton said. “Since game two or three I have kids that have played 48 straight minutes in each game. It makes me proud to see them stick it out the way they do.”
Not all of Friday’s game stats have been posted, but so far this season, the Highlanders completed 49-of-96 passes for 863 passing yards and 13 touchdowns. According to the posted stats, sophomore Steven Young was 40-of-83 for 696 passing yards and 11 touchdowns. Senior George Mitchell was 9-of-13 for 167 passing yards and two touchdowns.
FPCA has rushed for 1,137 yards with sophomore Sensier Carnes leading the way with 827 yards and seven touchdowns.
Mitchell has rushed for 38 yards and four touchdowns, Khalyn Weekley has 89 rushing yards and one touchdown.
Weekley led the team in receptions with 25 for 630 yards and nine touchdowns. Mitchell had 11 receptions for 119 yards and three touchdowns. Weekley had 1,033 all-purpose yard according to posted stats.
Senior Austin Hendrix was leading in tackles with 48 with Weekley posting 40. Brantley McKorkle had 27.
Middleton said they still don’t know who they play Friday, as the other side of their region has a three-way tie that needs to be played out.
“We have to wait and see,” Middleton said, adding it could be Piedmont, Bethlehem or Windsor Academy.
Middleton said it will be a tough playoff game on the road.
“Our region is the toughest,” he said, noting that all the roads are paved to a possible rematch against the top two seeds – Toombs Academy and Memorial Day.
Memorial Day has won back-to-back state titles.
“We are down to 17 healthy players,” Middleton said as they look toward Friday’s playoff game. “But we are going to do our best.”