RTCA Falls In Title Game
For the second straight year the Robert Toombs Christian Academy Crusaders football team played for the GIAA State Championship at 5-Star Stadium at Mercer University. But sadly again this season they fell short of that final win as they lost in the title game to the Wildcats of Flint River Academy. The Crusaders struggled to get the offense moving, and a series of penalties on two visits to the red zone in the first half really hurt the Crusaders momentum.
RTCA had good field position to start the game, and they quickly moved it across midfield on runs by Justin Powell and David Hill. Another run by Hill, and the Crusaders were all the way to the 18-yard line. But then four penalties on four straight plays moved them all the way into a 2nd down and 45 yards to get a first down. RTCA was then forced to punt the ball with Flint River taking over at their 21-yard line.
RTCA's defense held on that next series, and Flint River had to punt the ball away with 1:20 left in the first quarter of a fast moving game.
RTCA started their next drive at their 36-yard line. Ahmelion Jones got a big run across midfield to the Flint River 38-yard line on the final play of the first quarter. At the start of the second, Hill was down to the 20-yard line, but again penalty flags started flying as RTCA hit the red zone, and the Crusaders were pushed back and ended up turning the ball over on downs at the 32-yard line.
The Wildcats had a couple of big plays to move all the way to the RTCA 26-yard line, and from there they connected on a pass for a touchdown with 4:47 left in the first half. They tacked on the PAT to make it 7-0.
The RTCA defense kept them in the game as they held of the remainder of the first half, heading to the locker room trailing 7-0.
RTCA went with a pooch kick to start off the second half, and it was misplayed by Flint River with Brittan Tabor and Blake Durden in on the recovery setting RTCA up at the Wildcat 32-yard line. Hill again got RTCA into the red zone at the 18-yard line, but the Crusaders stalled there and turned the ball over on downs with 9:18 left in the third quarter.
The Crusader defense forced another punt with just over four minutes to go in the third quarter, taking over at their 26yard line. A pass from Hayden Kight to Jayden Toole for a first down out to the 38-yard line and then a big 59-yard run by Hill put the Crusaders on the board with continued from page
2:55 left in the third quarter. Hayden Meeks added the extra point to tie the game at 7-7.
Flint River answered with a 36-yard touchdown pass with 25 seconds left on the clock in the third quarter. The extra point was good to put the Wildcats on top 14-7.
Elijah Baker had a nice return on the ensuing kickoff out to the 45-yard line to set up good field position. Hill picked up two good runs to push the Crusaders all the way to the 23-yard line of Flint River. RTCA was at the 15-yard line facing a third down with just over nine minutes left to play, and they got a push by Jones all the way to the 10 for a first-and-goal. Hill took it down to the 4-yard line, but Flint River stopped them there and RTCA turned it over on downs at the 5-yard line with just over six minutes left to play in the game.
RTCA got a big play from Baker, who came up with an interception at the 28-yard line with four minutes left to play. Runs by Hill and Powell got RTCA to the 14-yard line, and then Powell took it to the 4-yard line with 1:20 left to play, setting up a first-and-goal. Another red zone penalty was called that moved them back to the 9, then a bad snap pushed RTCA all the way out to the 16-yard line with just 32 seconds left to play. RTCA made it back to the 5-yard line, but the Crusaders were stopped there, turning the ball over on downs with just 20 seconds to play.
Flint River took a knee to run out the rest of the clock and secure the win and the State Championship, defeating RTCA 14-7.
RTCA finished the year with a record of 7-5 and as the State Runner-up for the second year in a row. The Crusaders will be losing 10 seniors off of this year's team, and will be looking to rebuild next season to try to get back to the playoffs.