Fighting for yardage

LCA’s Gains Roberts (2) fights for yardage after the catch as a Southland Academy defender tries to shove him out of bounds during first half action of the Lions home playoff game Friday night, Nov. 6, 2015.

LOGANVILLE – A Tough Mudder is a team-oriented obstacle course designed to test physical strength and mental grit. After Loganville Christian Academy’s overtime win Friday night, they might well be called the Tough Mudder Lions.

LCA (10-0) defeated the Southland Academy Raiders (Americus) 21-20 in overtime on a rainy, soggy, sloppy field to advance to the second round of playoffs in the Georgia Independent School Association (GISA) state championships.

“It wasn’t pretty but you are the winner by score and not by style points,” Lions head coach Andre King said.

King, now 55-10 during his tenure as the head man for the Lions, had high praise for the Southland team.

“They played hard and gave us a great game,” he said.

Things didn’t start out so great for LCA as, on only their fourth play of the game, a Donovan Taitt was picked off by Townsend Ray and returned 40 yards for a touchdown and an early Raiders lead.

On the Lions’ third possession, Taitt was victimized again when a Southland cornerback intercepted in their own end zone. It was the only serious offensive threat the Lions mounted in the first half that saw only 31 rushing yards for the team.

Nothing much happened in the second quarter, as neither team was able to manage more than three plays and a punt and the Raiders took their seven-point lead into the half.

The third quarter opened for the Lions much as the start of the game. Taitt completed a long pass to Collin Hall but the ball was stripped and Southland took possession on their 37. “We stopped ourselves with turnovers and penalties,” King said. “We’ve got to fix that before next week.”

Southland scored next with 6:12 left in the game on a two-yard run by Stephen Turton. The point after was good and the Raiders took a 14-7 lead and seemed to have momentum on their side in the closing minutes of the game.

LCA took the ensuing kickoff on their own 40 and Taitt connected with Hall for 39 yards, putting the ball on Southland’s five. With just a minute remaining in regulation, Taitt hit Mike Meme in the corner of the end zone and Kevin Allen’s point after knotted the score at 14 apiece when time expired.

GISA overtime rules gave each team the ball on the opponent’s 25 and the one with the most points would be declared the winner and advance to the next round.

Southland had first possession and took just five plays to score. The point after was wide and the Raiders took the OT lead 20-14.

LCA’s turn: fumble, lost two; pass, lost three; pass to Meme for a first down; John Heart on a three yard run for the score. Allen’s PAT, for the win, was good and the Lions advanced and will host the winner of John Milledge Academy vs. Bulloch Academy next week on the LCA campus.

At press time, Milledge was leading Bulloch 31-6.

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