Trojans eliminated from playoffs
By Cade Cromer
Cordele Dispatch contributor
The Fullington Academy Trojans welcomed the Life Christian Eagles to Pinehurst for a first round playoff game on Friday night.
The Trojans received the opening kickoff and wasted no time in getting on the scoreboard. It took them just two plays to collect the games first score as Lane Mitcham ran in a touchdown from 41 yards out. The following extra point was missed but the Trojans held the advantage early at 6-0 just over 40 seconds into the first quarter.
After both teams traded several defensive stops, the Trojans began to put together a promising drive down to the Eagle 26-yard line. A fumble cost them however, as an Eagle defender was able to scoop the ball up and take it 75 yards for the equalizing score. The two-point attempt was unsuccessful but the Life Christian touchdown made the score six aside with just over three minutes remaining in the first quarter.
The second quarter mostly consisted of dominating defense, turnovers and penalties by both sides and the two went in at the halftime break all even at 6-6.
Life Christian opened up the second half with the ball but they were quickly held to a punt by the Trojan defense. Lane Mitcham returned the punt into good field position, but the Trojan offense was unable to get much going and they were forced to punt as well.
Life Christian took possession of the ball and began to move it up the field but the Trojan defense was able to force a fumble, which set their offense up in great field position at the Eagle 35-yard line. The Trojans could not make the short field payoff however, as they fumbled possession away to Life Christian near the endzone.
The Trojans got the ball back near the end of the third quarter and had a great drive going at the start of the final quarter. They got the ball down to first and goal from the six, but fumbled on second down. Again an Eagle defender was able to pick up the fumble and take it around 90 yards for a touchdown. Their subsequent two point attempt was successful this time, and the Eagles took their first lead of the game at 14-6 around 20 seconds into the fourth quarter.
After the subsequent kickoff, the Trojans were set up with decent field position to work with and they came up with a much-needed scoring drive. The Trojans drove 55 yards on 10 plays and got themselves an important touchdown when Mitcham picked up his second score of the game on a run from nine yards out. The point after attempt was no good however, and Life Christian held a slim 14-12 lead with 7:37 remaining in the game.
The Eagles wasted no time in extending their lead, as they scored just over a minute later to take a 20-12 advantage. The Trojan defense subsequently made a big stop on the point after attempt to stay alive in the game.
Disaster struck the very next drive for Fullington, however, as the Eagles were able to force an interception.
The Trojan defense came up with yet another massive stop shortly after to get one more opportunity to make a comeback as they held Life Christian to a turnover on downs.
Fullington took over possession at their own 38-yard line but were held to a turnover on downs of their own.
The Eagles were unsuccessful in their attempt to run the remaining time off the clock and the Trojan defense made one final stop with around 12 seconds left in the game.
Fullington took over from there at their 35-yard line for one last attempt to send the game into overtime. Will Mashburn attempted to find a receiver on a quick pass over the middle but the pass was ruled incomplete by the referee after the receiver tried to lateral the ball to a teammate. With just five seconds remaining on the clock the Trojans had one final opportunity, but after Mashburn completed a short pass to his receiver the Eagle defense was able to come up with the stop as the final seconds ticked away.
The loss ends a hard-fought season for the Trojans that saw them finish with a record of eight wins and three losses.