Five DEA student-athletes played their last football game this past Friday night, suffering a loss in the second round of the playoffs. The Warriors of Horizon Christian Academy just did edge out the Eagles in a heartbreaker win, 28–26 to move on to the finals.
David Emanuel jumped out to an early lead on a 4-yard run by Jesse Moore. The 2-point conversion failed, but the Eagles led 6–0.
Horizon Christian answered with a touchdown and a PAT to go up 7–6, then DEA punched back, sending Racyn Faircloth on a massive 70-yard run to regain control, 12–7. The 2-point conversion failed again, and the score wouldn’t hold long.
The Warriors then tacked on its second touchdown and PAT of the night, pulling ahead once more 14–12.
DEA answered the call, however, as Clayton Hood hooked up with Moore for a 4-yard touchdown reception, then the duo connected again for a double whammy to lead 20–14.
In keeping with the back-and-forth theme, Horizon Christian added another 7 points to go ahead 21–20.
Moore would go on another run, this time for 25 yards, to put the Eagles and the score was 26 – DEA, 21 – Horizon. The 2-point conversion would fail for the third time, and the tally would hold for DEA but not the Eagles’ opponents as Horizon had one last successful drive in the end moments of the game to pull out the win.
If the Eagles would have won Friday’s game, DEA would’ve solidified a repeat presence in the GAPPS 8-Man Class A Football Championship. Instead, it will be the Eagles of Horizon Christian with the repeat appearance, facing off against Vidalia Heritage this Friday night.
The 2020 championship pitted DEA and Horizon against each other with the Warriors coming out on top, 42–38.
Should DEA have advanced to the state championship this year to face off with their nearby rivals, the game would’ve been a headbanger as an earlier match-up in the season between the two teams resulted in a Vidalia Heritage victory.
With the loss on Friday night, David Emanuel says goodbye to five seniors: Timothy Braddock, Brayden Smith, Caden Lynch, Rylie Rowland, and Math McCullough. The Eagles should have a strong core next year, returning 19 of the players who helped this year’s squad to its 7–4 record on the year.
Photos are courtesy of Craig Rowland.