Eagles capture season opening contest
Published 2:18 pm Tuesday, August 27, 2019
Ben’s Ford Christian School forced two turnovers early, the offense turned those into touchdowns and the Eagles never looked back in a 44-14 victory over Rebul Academy in the 2019 season opener at home Friday.
Ben’s Ford fumbled on its opening possession and Rebul’s Wyatt Breckenridge recovered the ball at the Eagles’ 31.
Rebul drove to Ben’s Ford’s 3, but got pushed back to the 13. On third-and-goal from the 13, the Eagles’ defense forced a fumble and Austin Stogner recovered it at Ben’s Ford’s 21. From there, the offense drove 79 yards in six plays. Stogner capped off the drive when he took a handoff and ran 16 yards to pay dirt for the touchdown. Payton Miller ran it in for two and Ben’s Ford was up 8-0 with 4:26 left in the opening period.
“We turned the ball over as soon as we got it. We just manned up, played as a team and stopped them. They were in the red zone, we had to make a play and we made the play,” Miller said.
Miller led the defense with 8.5 tackles. He also ran for 40 yards.
On the first play following the kickoff, the Eagles forced another turnover when Stogner forced and recovered a fumble at Rebul’s 39, and Ben’s Ford quickly turned that into points. Daniel Martin completed a pass to John Robert Holston, who took it the rest of the way for a 39-yard touchdown to make it 14-0 after the two-point conversion was no good with 4:04 on the clock. It remained 14-0 until late in the second quarter.
The Eagles made it a 22-0 lead with 3:14 left in the first half on a Martin 16-yard run. Miller took it in for two points.
Rebul got on the board just 14 seconds later when Colton Cade completed a 58-yard pass to Michael Sloyan and then the two connected for the two-point conversion and it was 22-8.
Rebul had a chance to draw closer after recovering the kickoff at its 50, but once again, the Eagles defense came up with a big play. On second-and-15, the Eagles forced a fumble and Alex Stogner recovered at the Ben’s Ford 43 to keep it a 22-8 contest at halftime.
Ben’s Ford coach Tommy Pittman said his team came out sloppy offensively and said that Rebul played the Eagles hard for the first quarter and probably first half.
“I think our boys were kind of nervous, first regular season game, four quarters of football. We put the ball on the ground probably three or four times early, but once they settled in, they cleaned that up,” he said. “Like I said, defense was big. We ran the ball well. I think we may have had one passing touchdown, but that’s an area we’ve gotta work on.
“We’re still trying to get a little bit more passing game because it’s just going to get harder from here. But I’m proud of the kids, they played hard. Obviously our boys, we had a few more and we were in a little better shape, especially in the second half, but I’m proud of them. They played hard. Nobody from either side had any injuries other than just cramping, so we’re thankful for that.”
Ben’s Ford scored the first three touchdowns of the second half on runs by Martin, Austin Stogner and Gage Adams of 16, 3 and 11 yards respectively. The Eagles went 2-for-3 on two-point conversions, as Martin and Austin Stogner had the scoring runs to make it 44-8 with 5:57 left in the fourth quarter. It was 38-8 through three quarters.
After Ben’s Ford’s final touchdown, Breckenridge returned the kickoff 80 yards for a Rebul touchdown, and then ran in the two-point conversion for the 44-14 final.
It was Ben’s Ford’s first time playing eight-man football since in about a decade.
“Everything was faster,” Miller said. “It’s a lot faster. Less people makes it harder to catch them and play defense, but it was a good game and I’m proud of the team for coming out. Good blocking by the linemen — they blocked good for us. We ran the ball hard. Quarterback (Martin), first year playing quarterback and he’s doing outstanding.”
Martin threw for 52 yards with a touchdown and an interception. He ran for 69 yards and a score. He also made 1.5 stops on defense.
Austin Stogner had 107 rushing yards and two touchdowns to go with a reception for 13 yards. He also made a tackle and recovered two fumbles.
John Robert Holston had 32 yards rushing on two attempts and he caught a pass for 39 yards, to go with two tackles.
Adams had one carry for the 11-yard touchdown.
Trey Hartzog had three carries for 10 yards.
James Blackwell made 1.5 tackles.
John Glover, Alex Stogner and Joseph Williams all made a half of a tackle. Stogner recovered a fumble.
Ben’s Ford is back in action on Friday when the Eagles travel to Wilkinson County Christian Academy.