BY BRIAN HAMILTON
LEBANON – The King’s Academy was able to take down Friendship Christian 28-21 on Friday night, a team the Lions were 0-8 against all-time coming into the contest.
“This is huge for us,” The King’s Academy head coach Jonathan Sellers said of the win. “Friendship Christian has been a great program for a long time and still is. They’re well coached and have great football players.”
The King’s Academy drew first blood in the contest, as sophomore quarterback Elijah Williams-Smith scored on an 11-yard touchdown run, capping a 9-play, 50-yard drive. The Lions led 7-0 after the first quarter of play.
Former TKA quarterback Garrett Weekly then hit Chase Eakes for a 24-yard touchdown on the opening play of the second quarter, tying the game at 7-7.
Williams-Smith would score his second touchdown later in the second quarter on a broken play, finding Marshaun Bowers, who went 51 yards for the score with 4:40 left in the second quarter.
The King’s Academy took a 14-7 lead into the halftime break after limiting the Commanders to only 74 total yards in the first half.
The game was delayed for 30 minutes early in the third quarter due to a lightning strike.
TKA fumbled late in the third quarter, turning the ball over to Friendship. Weekly then found a wide open Eakes for the duos second touchdown connection of the night, tying the game at 14-14 with just 1:39 left in the third.
A 6-yard touchdown by Nakelin McAfee gave TKA a 21-14 lead in the fourth quarter. The Commanders botched the snap on the next play from scrimmage and the ball was recovered by the Lions’ Tanner Norris.
The King’s Academy would take a 28-14 lead following the turnover, but a busted coverage from the Lions’ defense allowed an 80-yard touchdown pass on the ensuing drive, making the score 28-21 with 3:51 left in the game.
McAfee would break a long run on third down, allowing the Lions to run out the clock and seal TKA’s first ever victory over the commanders.
Elijah Smith-Williams finished with 148 yards on 13-of-15 passing with one rushing touchdown and one passing touchdown to Marshaun Bowers.
“It was easily the best performance of his young career,” Sellers said. “He played poised and like a kid who has played for several years.”
Bowers caught seven passes for 100 yards and a touchdown, while McAfee ran for 151 yards on 23 carries and a score.
The King’s Academy (3-2, 1-0 Division 2 Class 1A) will step out of region play this week to host Swain County from North Carolina. Friendship Christian (2-3, 0-1) will host Maplewood (1-3) on Friday.