Commanders clinch region title -
LEBANON – Friendship Christian School celebrated Homecoming in a grand way Friday as the Commanders found themselves in a familiar place.
FCS disposed of East Region rival Mt. Juliet Christian Academy 58-8 at Pirtle Field and punched a couple of items on its to-do list.
The Commanders won their third consecutive Division-IA division championship and equally important, earned a first-round playoff bye to qualify for the state playoffs for the 20th consecutive year.
“At this point of the season, you want to see continued improvement,” FCS Coach John McNeal said. “I think we saw that, particularly on offense. We executed well and, especially in the first half.
“And with exception of the first drive that Mt. Juliet Christian had, we locked down pretty good on defense.”
Friendship Christian was explosive.
After receiving the opening kickoff, senior quarterback Justin Seagraves swept through the Saints defensive for a 75-yard touchdown run. Neill Kane’s successful point-after kick had the Commanders in front 7-0 just 21 seconds into the game.
While MJCA has not had the success that FCS has enjoyed this season, the Saints got off to a surprisingly good start., going 69 yards for a touchdown after it received the ensuing kickoff.
The drive took 10 plays with MJCA quarterback Christian Link getting the score on a 1-yard run, and his successful conversion pushed the visitors in front 8-7 at the 9:01 mark of the opening quarter.
At that point MJCA was where it wanted to be, it didn’t last.
“We were going against Friendship Christian. We knew they were going to score. What we had to do was do the little things and execute as well as they did. If we had, we would have been matching them score for score,’ MJCA Coach Dan Davis said.
The logic might have been flawless, but the Saints execution wasn’t.
The team’s defense gave up a touchdown on FCS’ first play from scrimmage.
And on its second play from scrimmage, senior Jaheim Robinson raced 70 yards through the Saints’ defense for another TD, which became the trend for the night as FCS rolled up 28 first quarter points and 27 more in the second for a 55-8 lead at the half
The Commanders dominated the game throughout, racking up 503 yards in total offense.
Seagaves rushed for three touchdowns, picking up 127 yards on the ground while passing for two more scores and 161 yards. He completed all six of the passes he threw on the night.
Now that the Commanders (6-2) have a first-week bye in the playoffs and have their last two regular-season games at Webb School in Bell Buckle and at Stone Memorial in Crossville, they have the luxury of being able to take a little time to look toward the playoffs.
“We won’t change our routine very much,” McNeal said. “We’ll game-plan every game and prepare for our opponents the same as before we were locked in to the bye,” McNeal said.
“At this point, we do have an opportunity to work on some things we need. We actually are healthier than at any point this season, but we know there are things we don’t do as well as we’d like to do or need to do.
“We’re going to have the time to address some of those issues. We’ve got to continue to improve. We know there are some quality teams in this classification, and if we advance as far as we hope to, we’re going to be seeing some of them.”