FPCA took on the Generals from Georgia Christian in Valdosta Friday night, and forced overtime, but fell 32-26.
Going in with a 0-2 record against the Generals (last season FPCA lost 34-20), the Highlanders battled to the end after being dragged into overtime by penalties that allowed a late General TD which tied the score at the end of the fourth quarter.
The Highlanders hit the scoreboard first, when Palmer Whitney kicked and the Generals fumbled. FPCA recovered and Khalyn Weekley scored. After the failed conversion, the Generals were able to move the ball into the end zone for a 6-6 tie.
The Highlanders responded with another touchdown on a fourth down that highlighted the chemistry between quarterback Steven Young and Weekley. Every game, the duo has capitalized on Young finding Weekley with long passes.
FPCA took a heavy hit in the second quarter when senior lineman Austin Hendrix was injured. So the Landers were down to 13 players and many of the injured are seniors.
A General touchdown tied game at 12-12 with 4:51 left in the half.
On the next drive, the Highlanders lost possession to an interception, but FPCA then recovered a fumble on the 29 yard line. Sensier Carnes bulldozed a nine-yard gain. And a short pass to George Mitchell brought a TD. The conversion by Mitchell ended the half with a score of 20-12, Highlander lead.
During halftime, Georgia Christian recognized United States service members. Service members and their families in the audience were lined up on the field with balloons.
The third and fourth quarters brought a barrage of penalties against the Highlanders. Delay of game, holding calls and other penalties repeatedly stopped any momentum the Highlanders created.
A touchdown and conversion by the Generals tied the score at 20-20.
Weekley finally found the end zone in the last minutes of the fourth quarter to take the lead at 26-20. But in the last two minutes, the Generals worked the ball after an offside call on the Highlanders, tying the game at 26-26 and forcing overtime.
The Highlanders were unable to capitalize in overtime. The Generals scored after more Highlander penalties.
FPCA Athletic Director Shane Smith was positive after the game.
“This was our game,” he said. “Despite the numerous calls against us, our players stayed strong and fought hard even though we had no subs. I am extremely proud… There are going to be games where the calls go against us. In those games, we must respond by getting creative and scoring more.”
FPCA will face Brentwood on Friday at home. Kickoff will be at 7:30 p.m. at Long Bell stadium in Hinesville.