The Bethlehem Christian Academy football team held off Covenant Academy 30-26 Friday night at Legion Field in Monroe.
The Knights (1-1) led 24-6 at halftime, but saw the Rams claw their way back into the contest. Covenant never led in the game, but pulled to within 24-20 in the third quarter and within 30-26 with 3:24 left. BCA was able to run out the game’s final 3:19 after recovering an onside kick attempt.
“This was a great stepping stone for our program,” BCA coach Lance Fendley said. “This is a game where we found out what we are made of.”
“We beat a Class AA team and that means something. Coach (Wes) Tanner is doing a great job in his first season with the team. I am just so proud of the hard work this team has put in. It shows you that hard work does pay off. They are seeing why we spend all those hours in the weight room and all those hours running.”
Mitchell Kamm put the first points of the game on the scoreboard by returning the opening kickoff 80 yards. The Knights moved in front 12-0 after an interception return for a touchdown by Ben Morgan with 7:24 remaining in the opening quarter.
Kamm finished the night with 229 yards rushing on 31 carries with two touchdowns. He also threw a touchdown pass and returned a kickoff for a score. Defensively, he intercepted a Covenant pass attempt.
Covenant scored its first touchdown of the night on a 2-yard run with 4:45 remaining before halftime. BCA answered with a touchdown pass from Dakota Parten to Morgan with just under three minutes remaining before halftime.
The Knights scored again just before halftime on a 21-yard run by Kamm with 16 seconds left on the first half clock. That scored turned out to be crucial for BCA.
The Rams took the momentum in the second half and scored on their first series on a 2-yard run. The two-point conversion cut the lead to 24-14.
Covenant found the end zone again on its second possession of the third quarter on a 20-yard pass play on fourth and goal. This time the two-point conversion failed leaving the scored at 24-20.
BCA would add its final score on a 9-yard run by Kamm with 4:38 remaining. A 28-yard touchdown run on a quarterback keeper pulled Covenant to within 30-26 but the Rams would not be able to regain possession.
Morgan finished with four catches for 50 yards, including a touchdown. Defensively, he had two interceptions, one of which he returned for a score.
BCA had 357 yards of offense on 72 plays.
“That’s right around the number of snaps we want,” Fendley said. “All in all, it was a decent night. It’s always great to win. Things weren’t going our way for a while and it would have been easy for a weak-minded team to see it get away. We can use this and finish 1-9 or we can finish 9-1.”
The Knights will travel to Westminster Augusta next Friday for a non-region contest. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
“It will be a challenge,” Fendley said. “They are a good team, like they always have been. We have watched film on them and they are very effective at what they do.”
Westminster enters the game 3-0 with wins against Curtis Baptist, Creekside Christian and Briarwood. Curtis Baptist is in the same region as BCA.
“They have very good athletes,” Fendley said. “Like anyone, they will have areas that we will try to take advantage of. As coaches, we have to put our players in position to do that. We have to outscheme them where we can.”
The win this past Friday should help the Knights with confidence for this week’s game against a larger foe.
“We had a team meeting at 7:30 Monday morning and everyone was ready to go,” Fendley said. “Our kids understand what a big challenge we have in front of us. We saw last week if we stick together when the chips are down, then good things can happen.”
Despite being a Class A program going against a AAA one, Fendley isn’t looking for just moral victories.
“We are not going there to just give them a good game,” the coach said. “We are going with one goal in mind and that’s to win. That’s our approach.”