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Tabernacle topples East Central 48-38 in season opener

Brant Berry | PrepsNet

Clay, AL – The Tabernacle Christian Torches knocked off the East Central Patriots 48-38 to open their 2021 season Friday night in Clay. 

The season opener for both metro area Christian school squads was a back and forth affair until the Torches created some space on the scoreboard midway through the second quarter.  East Central jumped on the board early, scoring with 8:36 remaining in the opening quarter.  The Torches returned the favor late in the first and added a two point conversion to take their first lead of the contest, going up 8-6 with 3:00 left to play in the opening quarter.  A minute later, Tabernacle took advantage of a Patriots turnover and extended their lead to 14-6.  

The Patriots evened things up at 14 apiece, crossing the endzone with 9:36 left in the first half.  Tabernacle junior signal caller Clinton Chase took command of the game midway through the second quarter leading the Torches to a pair of scores and extending the visitors lead to 28-20 heading into the break. 

East Central battled back in the second half pulling to within eight points of the Torches at the end of the third period.  Both squads added a pair of scores a piece in the 4th but in the end the new look Tabernacle offense proved to be too much. 

Tabernacle quarterback Clinton Chase, who was named the contest’s Player of the Game by PrepsNet and MaxPreps, finished the game with 314 yards through the air, completing 16-of-24 throws, accounting for six touchdowns and one interception while rushing for 30 yards on 19 attempts.  The standout junior added 52 punt/kickoff return yards on special teams and five tackles, three assists, a fumble recovery and an interception on defense.  

Sophomore running back Troy Box lead the Torches rushing attack with 57 yards on nine carries including a 40 yard touchdown scamper.  Trae Andrews ran for 37 yards on 13 attempts.   Daniel McCormick lead all receivers with seven grabs for 212 yards and six scores.  Sophomore Josiah Jones caught a pair of passes for 38 yards, Reed Chase hauled in five for 35 yards, including a two point conversion grab.  Bryant Howard made one reception for 22 yards and gained three yards on the ground.  

Box lead the Torches defense with 11 tackles followed by Andrews with nine.  Jones, Logan Bartlett and Daniel Walton added for stops.  Reed Chase added three and Jacob Beasley made two.  Beasley, Bartlett and Able Sharp each recovered fumbles and Bartlett sacked the Patriots quarterback twice.  

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The season opener was the first time the Torches and Patriots have meet on the gridiron. 

The Torches begin conference play next Friday night on the road at Montgomery’s Evangel Christian School.  Tabernacle will be looking to avenge their 34-26 loss to the Lions in 2020.  East Central returns home next Friday night to host the North River Christian Academy Chargers.