Generals battle back, but fall short of first victory

Ronald Davis III | Special to the TimesGeorgia Christian's Hendrix Grimes (3) prepares to defend during a game against Sherwood Christian on Friday in Dasher.

DASHER –– There was only one thing standing in the way of the Georgia Christian Generals and a potential victory.

Sixteen seconds.

Seth Copeland found Sam Wheeler on an out-route for four yards, bringing them to the one-yard line on fourth down against Sherwood Christian Academy Friday night. The Generals’ fanbase called for a spike to stop the clock.

Copeland bobbled the snap, picked up the football and tossed it back down. The mental error resulted in an incomplete pass call ruled by the referees. Sherwood quarterback Ketavion Curry took the victory knee, downing the Generals 26-19.

Generals head coach Chuck Knapp said the loss doesn’t change their identity.

“I don’t want to get lost in the scoreboard, but tonight is a win for me,” Knapp said. “We are going to keep doing what we do. If we keep doing what we do, eventually we are going to get better. We are moving the ball now with frequency and confidence. The guys are believing in each other. We’ve just got to finish.”

Starting, however, wasn’t a problem for the Generals offense.

The Generals got on the scoreboard early with a 10-yard run from Miles Grimes, notching the second overall touchdown for the team. The first quarter was everything the Generals’ fanbase could’ve asked for and it showed in the chants and rooting.

Then Sherwood happened. After only buying a field goal in the first quarter, Sherwood amped up the pressure on both sides of the ball.

Curry found wide receiver William Price downfield for a 61-yard gain, setting up the Eagles at the five-yard line. The Generals stuff running back Caleb Wiley at the goal-line twice to force fourth down.

Sherwood goes up 10-3 with a made field goal. 

Copeland trots on the field on the ensuing drive and reality kicks back in. With 6:16 remaining in the first half, Copeland drops back and throws a bullet to Grant Copeland out the backfield.

The ball grazed the fingertips of Copeland, going up in the air for grabs before gravity deemed Sherwood’s Ricardo Ruiz Garcia worthy of the interception. From there, Curry threw a 57-yard pass to Andrew Orr to put the Eagles up 16-7.

The Generals' heads were down and coach Knapp said it was the perfect opportunity for a comeback.

“Even though we were down then, we got to battle back,” he said. 

Curry eluded pressure on the way to a 58-yard score on just the third play of the third quarter. The Generals began what would’ve been the biggest comeback of their young season.

The tit-for-tat series between both teams consumed the clock in the third quarter. Grimes gave the Generals hope with an electric 61-yard run to end the quarter.

Grant Copeland rewarded Grimes’ efforts with a 15-yard score, edging the Sherwood lead to 23-13. The Generals defense here’s the “Be aggressive” chants from their sideline, ultimately giving up a field goal on a would-be touchdown series.

Seth Copeland found Wheeler alone downfield on their next drive for 27-yards and a score bringing the game with seven points and a tie. Sherwood missed the field goal on the next drive which would’ve put the game at 10 and out of reach for the Generals.

The final Generals drive began with 2:55 remaining in regulation. Everyone’s eyes were glued.

One play at a time, Seth Copeland found Wheeler four times on the drive. Two pass interference calls gave the Generals a big break. Until 16 seconds happened.

“It is so easy to lose the lesson in the scoreboard,” Knapp said of the game’s ending. “We were in a position to win. When you are building a program, you have got to build it up from the bottom. These guys have got to start believing in themselves and I think tonight they saw it. We had an opportunity to tie it up and go into overtime. That’s growth and that’s what you want.”

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