by Riley Hicks
Before the game started Thursday night, Landmark Christian fans and players were filled with optimism as they warmed up to face the Strong Rock Christian Patriots. The War Eagles hoped to finally capitalize on their first victory of the season and soar out of their current slump. The Patriots found the end zone on their first offensive possession and kept pushing all night. Led by quarterback Demetrius Knight and running back Jaylen Blackwell, the Patriots (4-3, 2-1) fought their way to a 35-14 win over Landmark (0-7, 0-3).
On its first offensive possession, Strong Rock drove down the field and scored on a Knight quarterback keeper from one yard out. This gave the Patriots full momentum, and they did not relinquish it until early in the second half.
Strong Rock answered its first touchdown on its following possession, after the defense forced the a punt for the second time in the game. On this possession, the Patriots started on their 20 yard line, and converted two fourth down plays to extend the drive. The drive was capped off with a 2-yard keeper from Knight, for his second touchdown to extend the lead to 14-0.
Trying to climb back into the game, Landmark went deep, freshman quarterback Jax Fisher launching it long to receiver Bernard Turner, who fought off two defenders for a 35-yard gain. They could not build on it, as a sack on fourth down in the red zone ended the potential scoring drive.
Looking to find the end zone again before the half, Knight broke through would-be tacklers for a 21-yard gain, and a few snaps later he threw a 28-yard pass to Cameron Brooks for the touchdown and a 21-point deficit for the Eagles at the half.
At the start of the second half, the momentum shifted to Landmark. A high snap by Strong Rock saw the ball bounce back behind the line where Kamau Hopewell scooped the ball up and sprinted for a 15-yard touchdown to close the gap to 21-7.
The Patriots bounced back on their next possession to shut down any chance for a comeback. On their first play from scrimmage, Blackwell burst up the middle for a 59-yard touchdown to further the lead to 28-7. He followed with a 52-yard scoring run, breaking multiple tackles to the end zone. This play ended the night for Knight and Blackwell, who seemingly carried their team to victory before giving way to backups.
Landmark battled to the final whistle and strung together one more scoring drive. It started on a 40-yard run from Donovan Pickett, who was tripped up before he scored. A few plays later Turner punched it in from three yards out to close the final gap to 35-14.
The War Eagles have three games left in the season to score their first victory. Their next chance comes this Friday as Wesleyan travels to Fairburn.
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