First Presbyterian Christian Academy overcame an hour long lightning delay and 12-point deficit to knock off Bethlehem Temple 26-20 in the Highlanders first home game of the season.
It just goes to show the Highlanders don’t quit, coach Terry Middleton said.
“This is what happens when you coach a team like the Highlanders. It is hard week after week to come out and play Ironman,” Middleton said. “What we lack in players we make up for in heart. My team does not quit. Our defense stayed strong all night, offense came through when we needed them. It was a great night for us.”
First Presbyterian took to the field to square off against a team that in the previous week dominated Dominion in a 60-0 win. And with Jamison Golson and Nick Bolton sidelined from injuries suffered last week, the Highlanders were down two key players on an already small roster.
But it took only minutes for the Highlanders to get on the scoreboard. Senior George Mitchell scored the first touchdown. Sophomore Sensier Carnes followed up with the 2-point conversion.
Bethlehem Temple answered back, and took a 20-8 lead after scoring three touchdowns and a 2- point conversion before Carnes scored a touchdown pull the Highlanders to within 20-14 at halftime.
Defense by the Highlanders in the second half kept them in the game. Despite numerous drives by Bethlehem, FPCA held them out of the end zone.
Offensively, it seemed that the Highlanders were beginning to show fatigue, with most players seeing action on both sides of the ball throughout the game. But in the final minutes of the game, FPCA forced a fumble and senior Nasmeek Murphy recovered the ball. Then, with one minute and 20 seconds left to play, sophomore quarterback Steven Young connected with Khalyn Weekley, who ran the ball 60 yards for a touchdown to tie the game.
After an unsuccessful attempt at a conversion, FPCA set up defensively, determined to stop Bethlehem from scoring. A Bethlehem player fumbled the ball with one minute to play. Senior Brantley McCorkle scooped up the ball and ran with it down to the 1-yard line. Mitchell scored the winning touchdown from there with only 23 seconds remaining on the clock.
FPCA will play at home on Friday against Hilton Head Christian. Kickoff will be at 7:30 PM at Long Bell Stadium in Hinesville.