Roughly five minutes into Friday night's Chattanooga Christian football game Signal Mountain, the only drama left was who would be named the homecoming queen.
Signal recovered an onside kick on the first play and covered a fumbled on CCS's first snap in an early onslaught that became a 67-13 win for the Eagles.
"We got some things done offensively that we wanted to," Signal coach Bill Price said. "We wanted to throw the ball some and we did. And mainly we wanted to make sure no one got hurt."
CCS can relate. The Chargers (2-6) had as many crutches on the sideline as they did coaches, a painful reminder of a season-long battle with pain.
"It's just been one of those years," CCS coach Barry Loyal said. "Those things can happen, and then you look up and you have two seniors on the field like we did at the end."
Signal was relentless offensively, attacking in waves surrounding powerful fullback James McClellan. The 260-pound senior bullied his way to four touchdowns and 189 rushing yards on 13 carries -- only one of which came after halftime.
With McClellan manning the middle, Diamez Franklin and Kaleb Menzel roamed the edges. Franklin rushed for 129 yards and two scores on nine carries, and Menzel had 89 yards on 12 runs. The Eagles' mixture of wing-T and spread -- a spread-T, maybe? -- totaled 473 yards on 46 carries.
The running success created a bevy of space for Signal quarterback Jack Teter, who finished 10-of-14 for 206 yards and a 49-yard TD to freshman Garrett Hensley in the third quarter. Freshman Skye Wilson capped the scoring with a late run.
"We really feel like we're getting tons better," said Franklin, the high-energy senior who has found success as a runner and a receiver this year. "We know teams will try to key on James and me, and guys like Jack and Kaleb are really stepping up and playing well.
"The chemistry on this team is there, and we trust each other."
While they had few answers for the Eagles offense, the Chargers refused to go quietly. CCS quarterback Zach Mercer ran and passed for more than 100 yards, including an 80-yard touchdown run less than a minute after Dameyne Toney's TD run that cut Signal's lead to 45-13. The hustling Mercer ended the game diving for extra yards on the final play.
"I'm proud of this team because they always keep fighting," Loyal said. "Zach's more of our running quarterback, and he's down there doing everything he can right until the end. Then you got someone like Austin Mansell, who probably played 115 snaps for us tonight."
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