Friendship Christian scored 17 points in the final two minutes of the first half to put away Columbia Academy 45-19 on Friday in the Division II-A quarterfinals at Pirtle Field.
Senior Justin Seagraves ran for two touchdowns and threw two touchdown passes for the Commanders (9-2), who had a first-round bye. They will play defending state champion Davidson Academy (9-2) next Friday in Lebanon with the winner advancing to the championship game Dec. 5 in Cookeville.
It will be the third time in 13 games that Friendship Christian will play Davidson Academy. The Bears won both the matchup in the 2018 state championship game (39-27) and the regular-season game on Sept. 20 (30-23) at Pirtle Field. Davidson Academy has a nine-game winning streak.
“They are not nearly the team they were last year by far,” said Commanders running back Jaheim Robinson, who rushed for 97 yards (all in the first half) on 12 carries with a 9-yard touchdown run. “I feel pretty good about our team next week, especially with our offense.”
The Commanders have scored at least 42 points in each game of their current six-game winning streak.
Seagraves rushed for a team-leading 156 yards on 14 carries. The Commanders’ starting quarterback also lined up at running back for the first time this season on some series to take handoffs.
Seagraves’ passing got Friendship Christian going early in the game. He threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to Cade Holcombe on the first series of the game and faked a handoff to two teammates before connecting with Dorian Champion for a 63-yard touchdown pass with 7:49 left in the first half and a 21-7 lead. Seagraves completed all three of his passes.
Junior Drew Porter, who has had a broken wrist all season, also lined up at quarterback. His 33-yard run late in the first quarter gave the Commanders their second touchdown.
Holcombe’s 20-yard catch set up Seagraves’ first touchdown run, a 5-yarder with 1:56 remaining in the second quarter. After a punt, Seagraves’ 27-yard run set up Robinson’s scoring run with 23 seconds left until halftime. After the kickoff, the Bulldogs, who had their six-game winning streak end, decided to throw a pass rather than kneel to end the first half. Jack Martin intercepted the pass and returned it to the 11 with eight seconds left. Friendship Christian did not have any timeouts so Neill Kane kicked a 28-yard field goal for a 38-7 halftime lead.
“The first half was as good a half, a complete a half, as we have played all year,” Commanders head coach John McNeal said. “We put in the gameplan during the bye week and by Thursday we were tired of practicing.”
Friendship Christian rushed for 315 yards in the game. Holcombe, Champion and Kolby Gaines each caught two passes.
On Friendship Christian’s first offensive play of the second half, Seagraves ran 30 yards for the Commanders’ final touchdown. He said another game with Davidson Academy is one that he and his teammates have been wanting to play.
“I think they are overlooking us a little bit,” Seagraves said. “All of us in there (lockerroom) are thinking revenge.”
Friendship Christian held the Bulldogs’ fast Wing-T offense under control in the first half. Columbia Academy rushed for 72 yards on 17 carries in the first half and 102 rushing for the game. Nine of the Bulldogs’ 26 rushing attempts went for either zero yards or a loss. Columbia Academy threw two touchdown passes in the final three minutes of the game.
Besides Martin’s interception, the Friendship Christian defense forced three other turnovers. Champion intercepted a pass near midfield in the second quarter, Jackson Eskew intercepted a pass in the third quarter after Holcombe tipped the ball to him and Daniel Graves recovered a fumble after a punt hit a Columbia Academy player.
McNeal said that preseason starting quarterback Camden Hayslip practiced next week and could be in uniform against Davidson Academy.
Columbia Academy - 0 7 0 12 —19
Friendship Christian - 14 24 7 0 — 45
FC - Cade Holcombe 18 pass from Justin Seagraves (Neill Kane kick(
FC - Drew Porter 33 run (Kane kick)
CA - Max Ballard 15 run (Will Garrison kick)
FC - Dorian Champion 63 pass from Seagraves (Kane kick)
FC - Seagraves 5 run (Kane kick)
FC - Jaheim Robinson 9 run (Kane kick)
FC - Kane 28 field goal
FC - Seagraves 30 run (Kane kick)
CA - Franklin Walker 89 pass from Bryant Beranek (Run failed)
CA - Chris Whitney 12 pass from Beranek (No conversion attempted)