VARNELL — A quick start was just what Christian Heritage was looking for Friday night at Coahulla Creek.
The Lions scored on their first three possessions of the game, and Coahulla Creek’s offense couldn’t sustain drives at any point as Christian Heritage rolled to a 27-3 victory in the first meeting between the schools.
Austin Lowe scored on a 3-yard run in the first quarter and capped the night off with a 16-yard interception return for a touchdown late in the fourth as the Lions improved to 2-1 in their first season of GHSA competition.
“The defense played well all night long,” Christian Heritage coach Preston Poag said. “We felt like we gave away the first game, and we have gotten better each week, and that is what we have to keep doing — get better each and every week.”
There wasn’t much to criticize about the Lions’ defensive effort.
Coahulla Creek was limited to 49 rushing yards, and through the air the Colts were 8 of 21 for 85 yards. The Christian Heritage defense yielded just five first downs.
“They did a great job defensively,” said Coahulla Creek coach Jared Hamlin, whose team fell to 1-2 in its first year of varsity competition. “For us defensively, we had to change our scheme around a little bit because of some injuries, and it looked like we needed a few series of live action to sort of get into the flow of the game.”
Unfortunately for the Colts, those first few series all turned into Christian Heritage scoring drives.
The Lions got off to the perfect start, taking a short field after a 15-yard punt and quickly capitalizing on their opening possession. Quarterback Trevor Brown hit Nich Bartley for a 41-yard gain and Jake Stokes powered over from the 6 to give Christian Heritage a 7-0 lead.
Coahulla Creek fumbled on its next play, and three plays later Lowe dove over from the 3 for a quick 14-0 lead with the opening period not halfway over.
Christian Heritage again had a short field taking over after stopping the Colts on a three-and-out. Coahulla Creek made the Lions earn it, but Christian Heritage drove 35 yards in 10 plays, with Brown taking an option to the right and scoring on a 5-yard run. The extra point was wide, but the Lions had a 20-0 lead with 1:02 left in the first quarter.
“That first quarter went about as well as we could have planned,” Poag said. “We want to be hard-nosed running the ball, and we did that with Austin running hard up the middle.”
For Brown and his teammates, the victory served as an exclamation point to last week’s 55-7 win over Murray County.
“People have always said that when we played the public schools, we would lose and people are always predicting us to lose, and we have to prove some stuff,” said Brown, who finished 9 of 13 for 118 yards passing. “It is just a great win against a local school, and that means a lot to us.”
The defenses for both teams were stout in the second quarter, but the Lions were hurt by an interception while trying to drive for another score before the end of the first half. The Colts were able to take advantage, with quarterback Blaine Williams breaking off a 34-yard run on a draw and then hitting Michael Ward on a 21-yard gain to the Christian Heritage 11.
Williams took another shot to the corner of the end zone, but Kyle Stanley broke up the pass and the Colts had to settle for a 28-yard field goal from Pedro Garcia.
Neither team was particularly impressive offensively on the stat sheet. The Lions were working with a short field on all of their scores, and after the first quarter the Colts’ defense stiffened and played a solid game. Christian Heritage managed just 92 yards rushing, but the Lions also benefited from converting on three of four attempts on fourth down.
However, they also suffered three fumbles. Unlike Coahulla Creek, Christian Heritage’s turnovers were all deep in the other team’s territory, and the Colts couldn’t drive the field.
“They played well, and offensively we couldn’t get anything going,” Hamlin said. “We will continue to work and just get better.”
Score by Quarters
Christian Heritage 20 0 0 7 — 27
Coahulla Creek 0 3 0 0 — 3
How They Scored
CHS — Jake Stokes 6 run (Andrew McEntyre kick), 9:07
CHS — Austin Lowe 3 run (McEntyre kick), 7:28
CHS — Trevor Brown 5 run (kick failed), 1:02
CC — Pedro Garcia 28 FG, 0:00
CHS — Lowe 16 interception return (McEntyre kick), 4:11
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