This one hurt.
The Bethlehem Christian Academy football team fell to visiting Nathanael Greene 22-20 Friday night at Legion Field in Monroe. The setback was tough as the loss all but ended the Knights’ chances of hosting a state playoff game and now BCA must win next week to even have a chance to qualify for the postseason.
“We will go back to work Monday,” coach Lance Fendley said after the game. “Our season is not over.”
Mitchell Kamm had another big performance for the Knights (4-5, 2-3) scoring on runs of 88, 45 and 1 yards. He also scored a 2-point conversion which gave BCA a 20-14 lead with 8:06 remaining.
NGA, however, went on a 17-play, 65-yard drive to move back in front 22-20 with 2:14 remaining. The Knights had one final chance moving to the Patriort 37-yard line with 41 seconds left before turning the football over on downs.
“We had a chance,” Fendley said. “We have to learn to put games away. When we have the lead late, we have to hold onto it.”
Nathanael Greene, which finished its regular season 3-8 overall and 3-3 in region, took the game’s opening possession and quickly scored on a 67-yard drive in just three plays for an 8-0 lead with 11:16 still left in the first quarter.
The Patriots then went on its first monster, time-consuming drive after forcing BCA to punt. NGA used 16 plays, picking up five first downs along the way, to take a 14-0 lead on an 18-yard run just before the end of the third quarter.
Kamm put BCA back in the contest on an 88-yard run with 7:46 left before halftime. The two-point conversion attempt failed.
In the second half, Kamm pulled the Knights to within two points on a 45-yard run with 4:19 left in the third quarter. The two point-conversion attempt failed again. Neither team attempted to kick an extra point Friday, electing to go for two points after each score.
Kamm put BCA up for the first time on a 1-yard run with 8:06 left before NGA used almost six minutes to find the endzone on a 1-yard quarterback keeper. The senior finished with 255 yards on 22 carries, three touchdowns and a two-point conversion.
Until the final drive, BCA’s defense had been able to slow down the Patriots in the second half. During its first three series of the second half, NGA had only one first down. The Patriots gained five on their final offensive possession of the contest.
“We made some defensive adjustments and slowed them down pretty well,” Fendley said. “We knew they were big and were going to run it right at us. You have to give them credit. They run their offense to perfection and kept chewing clock.”
Ben Morgan had an interception to stop one NGA drive late in the first half. The Knights then moved down the field to the Patriot 12-yard line on a long reception by Morgan, but an interception ended the potential scoring threat.
The Patriots used a tight wishbone formation using up the gut power running plays with some misdirection plays as well.