Outside of a few backbreaking plays, the Landmark Christian War Eagles were right with the Mt. Pisgah Christian Patriots in their opening round playoff matchup. Unfortunately, the War Eagles could not wipe away four crucial turnovers in a 38-14 home loss.
Landmark dug themselves an early hole as Mt. Pisgah was more than happy to take advantage. The War Eagles fumbled the ball on each of their first two possessions, one at midfield and the other deep in Pisgah territory. The Patriots turned the first fumble into a touchdown foliowing a key fourth down conversion with a scramble by their quarterback, Aaron Winchester. Winchester used his arm to finish the series with a 16-yard touchdown pass and a 7-0 lead. The Patriots settled for a an 18-yard field goal after the second fumble, building a 10-0 lead.
Mt. Pisgah would tack on another touchdown before Landmark started their rally. The War Eagles drove 74 yards, capping off their possession with just 26 seconds left in the first half. Quarterback Stockton McGuire kept the drive alive, converting a fourth and two at midfield with a six-yard run. DJ Brown chewed up a big chunk of field with a 33-yard pickup before McGuire ran it in from eight yards out. Carson King’s extra point made it a 17-7 game at halftime.
Landmark’s defense stiffened up to start the second half, forcing a three and out on the opening possession. The War Eagle offense built on their momentum with a 66-yard scoring drive. McGuire connected with Aaron Burtz for 13 yards to get them rolling. Lofton Tidwell finished it off with a three yard touchdown to make it just a 17-14 deficit.
The teams traded three and outs, highlighted by a shared sack between Drew McMurrain, Dylan Gabrielson, and Taylor Snyder to snuff out Pisgah.
The Patriots found their way back to the end zone with a long pass early in the fourth quarter to make it 24-14. From there, the wheels fell off for Landmark. The War Eagles handed the ball right back with a fumble on the ensuing kickoff. Pisgah followed with a short touchdown pass on the next play to make it a 31-14 game.
Landmark wasn’t about to give up. They drove back past midfield, keyed by a 26-yard screen pass to Ben Baggett. McGuire looked for Baggett again on a bomb to the end zone, but the officials ruled the Pisgah defender came down with the jump ball for a crushing interception.
The Patriots tacked on one more score to pad the 38-14 final.