MT. JULIET The Hendersonville Christian Academy prep football team rallied late to capture a 34-32, come-from-behind victory over the Tennessee Heat in a game played last Friday evening at Mt. Juliet Christian Academy.
It was the second consecutive win for the Crusaders.
HCA (3-3 overall, 3-1 in Middle Tennessee Athletic Conference North Region) overcame a pair of fourth-quarter deficits.
“I was extremely proud of how the guys fought,” Hendersonville Christian first-year head coach Tyler Alexander said. “They showed mental toughness, physical toughness and the will to win. A big emphasis this year has been having a winning mentality, and these guys had that tonight and did not quit until the final whistle sounded.
“This was a major win for us and a huge confidence-booster. These guys have been working hard all season to build this Crusader program, and it paid off in a big way against a tough team.”
Trailing 26-18, freshman quarterback Jack Antemann threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to junior Andre Hambrick, and junior Ian Connor’s successful two-point conversion run tied the contest at 26.
However, the Heat responded by retaking the lead with three minutes remaining.
Antemann had a 15-yard run on the ensuing possession, setting up his 12-yard touchdown pass to sophomore Justin Bader to tie the game.
Connor’s successful conversion run proved to be the difference.
The Crusaders never led until that point.
HCA forced a turnover on downs on the following series to seal the win.
The Heat (4-3, 3-3) scored on the game’s opening drive for an 8-0 lead.
Senior Noah Jacobs recovered a fumble and returned it 35 yards for a touchdown in the second period, and Hambrick broke free for a 60-yard touchdown run later in the period.
The Crusaders trailed 14-12 at halftime.
Conner ripped off a 70-yard touchdown run in the third period, pulling his squad back to within two points (20-18).
Hambrick finished with 142 rushing yards on 12 carries, and Connor gained 116 yards on seven rushes.
Sophomore Tanner Sturgis led the HCA defense with six tackles, and Connor had two quarterback sacks.
The Crusaders made four fourth-down stops to force a turnover on downs each time.
HCA hosts Lighthouse Christian on Friday, Oct. 9.