(Lenexa, Ks, November 9, 2019) No. 1 Christ Prep Academy (10-1) closed out their regular season play with a resounding victory over No. 2 Lighthouse Christian Chargers, on Saturday, at the College Boulevard Activity Center in Olathe.
The Christ Prep Academy (CPA) Patriots put on a dominating show in the fourth quarter by outscoring the visitors from Springfield, MO, by a score of 21-6. Lighthouse was previously undefeated coming in to this contest, averaging 51 points per game. But the Patriots put up stifling defensive pressure when it mattered the most, deflecting 6 Charger passes and intercepting 2.
There were many Patriot players who stood out in this game, but Senior QB Noah Blair was once again the dominating force in this matchup, scoring 3 TD’s, rushing for 116 yards, catching 2 passes for 93 yards, throwing 5 passes for 53 yards, knocking down 2 Charger pass attempts and intercepting 1.
CPA lit up the board first, with an 88-yard TD run from scrimmage by Blair, with 10:33 left in the opening quarter. Big plays and big drives would prove to be the second half entertainment for this beautiful Saturday afternoon of football! But the two teams went back and forth in the first quarter, until Lighthouse crossed the goal line with a 1-yard TD pass from Noah Miller to Gavin Bess. Their 2-point conversion failed and CPA took a 1-point lead into the second quarter.
It wasn’t until late in the second, after a 67-yard drive, when CPA’s Benjamin Einess broke through the Charger line with a 4-yard run. Nicholas Classen upped the ante with his second PAT and CPA held a slim 14-6 lead late in the second. Lighthouse came charging back with their own 67-yard drive and another Miller to Bess TD pass of 38 yards with 6 seconds remaining in the first half. CPA failed to hold the line on the two-point conversion, and the teams went into the half tied up at 14-14.
On the first play from scrimmage in the second half, the Chargers, aided by a face mask penalty on CPA, exploded with a 40-yard TD pass from Colby Fields to Noah Miller. Their two-point conversion was stuffed by the CPA line. With the score now standing at a 20-14 advantage in favor of the visitors, CPA went to work and marched 65 yards down field for Junior RB Jalen Rowland’s first rushing TD of the day. Another PAT by Nicholas Classen brought the score to 21-20, and the Patriots never relinquished the lead from that point forward. That’s when the CPA defense ramped up their pressure and began denying the Charger passing attack. After 4 successive incomplete passes, CPA took over the game at their own 33-yard line. Less than a minute later, the CPA duo of Benjamin Einess and Noah Blair struck pay dirt again, with a 67-yard TD pass. PAT by Classen was good and with 3:22 left in the third quarter, CPA started to pull away with the score at 28-20. Starting off the fourth quarter with a 3-yard TD pass, it looked like the
Chargers, now down by 2 points, would keep this game competitive. Their fourth attempted 2-point conversion was denied by the CPA line again and Christ Prep remained on top 28-26. Those two-point conversion denials would prove to be psychological for both teams.
On a 62-yard drive that took nearly 6 minutes off the clock, the CPA duo of Einess and Blair rang the bell once more! From 34 yards out, a sweet pass allowed Noah Blair to knife his way through the Charger defense again and stride across the goal line with 6:03 left on the game clock. PAT by Classen was good and the score now stood at 35-26, with nine points making the largest margin in the game. Advantage: Christ Prep Academy
With the ensuing kickoff, Lighthouse took the ball in their end zone and ran it back out to their 12-yard line. On their first down, a completed 23-yard pass brought them near mid-field for another first down. A pass interference call on CPA moved the ball to the 50-yard line, and on the next play, Charger QB Noah Miller quickly moved the team down to the CPA 33-yard line. Threatening to score again with his quick strike ability, Miller threw what looked like a TD pass to the 5-yard line which was knocked down by Noah Blair. Miller’s next pass was intercepted by Junior DE Benjamin Einess, and that effectively ended the Lighthouse threat. CPA Junior Jalen Rowland then brought the rock home from 10 yards out, on the Patriots next possession, thereby increasing the score to 41-26 with only 2:44 left in the game. Another interception at the 2-minute mark by Noah Blair set up the final score just over a minute later, with Benjamin Einess running in from 7 yards out. Nick Classen was perfect on all of his PAT attempts, and the final score ended at 49-26.
This rivalry has been ongoing for the past decade and was cultivated when Christ Prep won the 2009 game in overtime 24-21. The following year, Christ Prep won the 2010 game 41-20. After Saturday’s game, the series is tied at 7-7.
Lighthouse dominated the matchup through 2011-2013. The Chargers then went on to win the 2013 NHFA (National Homeschool Football Association) tournament.
Their competitiveness reached new heights in 2014 when Christ Prep won the regular season matchup 30-14, but then lost 21-7 to Lighthouse in the NHFA Championship game.
In 2017 Christ Prep earned a 25-12 victory, and advanced to the top bracket in the tournament where they subsequently won the Beach Bowl against Texas Wind. Last season, in 2018, Christ Prep beat the Chargers 36-14 on its’ way to the NHFA championship, with QB Noah Blair dominating on both sides of the ball. His interception set up one of his two TD’s, and he also forced a Lighthouse fumble to prevent them from a certain score.
IN THE POLLS
Christ Prep Academy is ranked No. 1 by the National Homeschool Football Association and Lighthouse Christian is ranked No. 2 in the poll released before Saturday’s game, on 11/3/2019.
Both teams travel to Panama City, Florida on Wednesday, November 20th, to compete in the annual NHFA Tournament for the 2019 Championship. Tournament play will begin on Wednesday, November 20th and run through Sunday, November 24th when the championship game will be played. Most likely, these two teams will retain their No. 1 and No. 2 seeding and potentially meet in the Championship Game on Sunday.