By Zach Shugan
JOHNS CREEK, Ga. — If you missed the Mount Pisgah-Hebron Christian game and only saw the final score, you might think the Lions beat up on the Patriots.
In reality, it was a competitive game, one with highlight plays and momentum swings for both teams. In the end, though, Hebron pulled away late for a 43-22 victory Friday night at Savior Field.
“A lot of times we put ourselves in a tough spot,” Mount Pisgah head coach Ryan Livezey said. “We kind of did that to start the game, then we battled back. Then we started it up again. That’s one of those things we’ve just got to improve on.”
Momentum swung in favor of the Lions in the third quarter when the Patriots’ defense, after allowing Hebron to work its way down the field, came up with a fumble recovery to keep the score 21-14. Then, on the Patriots’ first play of the drive, miscommunication on the snap resulted in a safety and two points for the Lions.
And to make matters worse for Mount Pisgah, the Lions got the ball back following the safety and scored again. In just a few minutes, the Patriots went from possessing the ball with a chance to tie the game to trailing by 16 points, 30-14.
Mount Pisgah looked down and out, but Jack Cendoya found Tyler Hunnicut (4 receptions, 137 yards, 2 touchdowns) for a 55-yard touchdown to keep the team’s hope alive. Hebron fended off Mount Pisgah in the game’s final 12 minutes, preventing the Patriots from finding the end zone and adding two touchdowns to pad its lead.
After Hebron got on the board first with a 55-yard quarterback keeper, the Patriots evened the score with a 34-yard touchdown pass from Cendoya (351 total yards, 3 passing touchdowns) to Brandon Bostic.
The Lions scored again on a run by quarterback Gavin Hall to regain the lead, and once again, the Patriots responded. The junior quarterback Cendoya tossed a screen pass to the junior receiver Hunnicut, who took off and ran 64 yards for a touchdown.
Hebron scored once more before halftime on a 63-yard touchdown run to take a 21-14 lead at the break. Then, the Lions outscored the Patriots 22-8 in the second half to leave the Patriot Athletic Campus with a win.
“I told the guys the best part about this is this does not do anything in regards to playoffs,” Livezey said. “We have a lot of stuff that we can look at and get better at. I’m proud of the way these guys played.”
Mount Pisgah fell to 1-3 on the season with the loss to Hebron (2-1). The Patriots earned their first win of the season the previous week at Walker after opening the year with losses against Wesleyan and Mount Paran. Following a bye next week, the Patriots return to action Sept. 24 at home against Christian Heritage.
“I think we’ve played some pretty good teams,” Livezey said. “Most of the teams we’ve played are going to be in the playoffs. It’s going to make us better. Obviously we got some big games in our region. At the end of the day, we can talk about all the other teams but it really comes down to are we getting better week to week. And in certain areas we are. In other areas, we have to continue to grow.”