Monday, October 7, 2013
This is a season of firsts for the Palmetto Christian football team. In the Eagles’ regular season opener, they downed 3A Porter-Gaud for the first time in school history. Two weeks ago, Palmetto Christian won at Colleton Prep for the first time.
This past Friday, Palmetto Christian achieved another first – defeating Bible Baptist, 62-16, on homecoming night.
Coach Jim Daniel said he was most impressed with the Eagles’ defense. “We just put in a crazy defense – had no linebackers,” he said. “We put people in the gaps and sent them. They had five blockers; we sent six rushers.”
There are two firsts remaining on this season’s agenda: beat Hilton Head Christian Academy on Oct. 25 and win a state championship.
“I don’t want to look past Northwood (Academy). They’re scary,” Daniel said about the Eagles next opponent after a bye week. “Their offense is starting to click. They’re starting to roll. I had a feeling that by the time we played ‘em, they would be pretty in sync.”
Quarterback J.T. Waters continued to dismantle opponents, throwing for 210 yards and running for 239 more. The senior accounted for eight touchdowns – six rushing and two passing.
Palmetto Christian (5-1 overall, 1-0 region) scored on every drive of the first half except for a final offensive possession that started with less than a minute remaining in the second quarter. The Eagles forced four Bible Baptist (3-3, 1-1) turnovers and caused a running clock in the third quarter after getting a 40-point lead.
Although the offense clicked in every facet, the offensive and defensive lines were perhaps the reason for the surprisingly lopsided victory. When Palmetto Christian was offense, the ball was snapped and the line often drove the Braves defensive lineman backward a couple yards, moving the entire line of scrimmage in the process.
“They were huge,” Daniel said. “We challenged them this week. I don’t think they’ve been performing up to their standards, and they definitely came through.”
And on defense, the Eagles collected a season-high seven sacks and two interceptions. Senior Will Tuchfarber and freshman Tommy Gunn each had two sacks. Junior Jake Iriart had a first quarter interception and senior Andrew Johnstone had the other pick. Johnstone, at about 5-feet-9-inches tall, leaped and ripped the ball away from a 6-foot-6-inch Bible Baptist receiver and returned it 49 yards, narrowly missing out on a touchdown.
Bible Baptist scored 60 points in its regular season opener and 88 points the following week. But, at Park West Field on Friday – after having a bye week – the Braves looked lost offensively.
Iriart also played running back at times for the Eagles, rushing for a career high 86 yards on six carries, including a touchdown. He had a second touchdown called back because an official said he stepped on the out-of-bounds line while eluding tacklers late in the game.
Palmetto Christian takes a week off, thanks to its Week 0 game at Porter-Gaud, before hosting Northwood Academy (4-2, 1-1), Oct. 18. The Chargers are winless on the road so far this season.