The Tennessee Christian Preparatory School Hawks kicked off the 2014 football season with a bang on Monday night in Chickamauga, Ga. The offense showed promise, while the defense was stifling in the Hawks’ 44-0 victory over Gordon Lee.
TCPS’s first touchdown came on the defensive side of the ball. With the Trojans of Gordon Lee backed up on their own 16-yard line, the snap from center flew over the quarterback’s head and was recovered in the end zone by the Hawks’ Sam Lockman. Jordan Elam made good on the following two-point conversion, giving the Hawks an 8-0 lead late in the first quarter.
After an interception on the next defensive series by Luke Benton, the Hawks took over deep in Trojan territory. The offense capped off the series with a 19-yard rushing touchdown by quarterback Rashad Marshall. Elam got the call again on the two-point conversion and again delivered, giving TCPS a 16-0 lead.
Another Gordon Lee turnover led to points when fullback Elam gashed the middle of the Trojans’ defense for a 33-yard touchdown run and ensuing two-point conversion. Hawks led 24-0 with a little over eight minutes left in the half.
The Hawks’ defense then held the Trojans to three-and-out and took over on their own 25-yard line. Running back Zadarius Williams took the ball 62 yards on the first play of the series, making it to the Gordon Lee 12-yard line before being tripped up from behind. Two plays later, Marshall connected with Nate Boyd for the touchdown pass. The Hawks led 30-0 with four minutes in the half after the two-point conversion failed.
TCPS took over on offense again on its own 34 after the defense held the Trojans to another three-and-out. Two plays later, Marshall hooked up with Boyd again, this time on a 54-yard score to give the Hawks a 36-0 lead going into the half.
The second half saw the Hawks and Trojans trade possessions in a scoreless third quarter, but the TCPS was not done. Late in the fourth, Hawks running back Eric Hall rushed around the end for a 16-yard score. After the two-point conversion, the Hawks led 44-0, which ended the game’s scoring.
Coach Steve McKenzie was pleased with the team’s performance. “We have been preaching for a few weeks about setting the tone early and not waiting until something happens to decide it’s time to play. And these boys did what we asked them to do tonight,” he said.
The Hawks’ defense forced seven turnovers, five fumble recoveries and two interceptions. “Our defense played with fire tonight. Coach (Jason) Norwood and the staff really did an excellent job of getting our kids in the right position, then our kids played their tails off to make it happen,” McKenzie noted.
On the offensive side of the ball the Hawks rushed for 254 yards with touchdown runs by Marshall, Elam, and Hall. The Hawks connected for 79 yards and two scores through the air, both by Boyd.
“We played very well offensively, I thought, but that doesn’t mean we won’t have some things to correct for the next game,” said McKenzie. “I’m proud of how we came out and started the game, but we also finished, and that’s the key, making sure you finish how you start. Great job by our coaches and players in getting the shutout tonight.”
The Hawks will have their home opener at Charleston Field on Sept. 15, when they host Silverdale Baptist.
Passing: Rashad Marshall, 4-9, 79, 2 TDs Rushing: Zadarius Williams, 5-104, Eric Hall, 5-74, 1 TD, Jordan Elam, 8-60. Receiving: Nate Boyd, 2-59, 2 TDs, Zadarius Williams, 2-12. Defense: Eric Hall, 6 tackles, Zach Hill, 5 tackles, 1 sack, Luke Benton, 3 tackles, 1 Int., Jordan Elam, 3 tackles, 1 Int., Caleb Douglas, 2 tackles.