Mount Paran Christian fell behind on the first play from scrimmage but controlled the rest of the night with its running game and beat Mount Pisgah Christian 35-17 Friday to claim the championship in subregion B of Region 6-A.
The victory puts third-ranked Mount Paran (8-1, 7-0) in the region championship game at home next Friday against Mount Zion-Carroll (8-1).
Jack Allen rushed for 153 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries and Kyle Terry had 138 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries to lead a Mount Paran offense that ran for 452 yards and had 504 total yards. The Eagles had 58 rushing play and were 3-of-8 passing for 52 yards.
“We always want to be able to run the ball. That’s just a big part of our philosophy,” Mount Paran coach Mitch Jordan said. “But I’m just so proud of all our kids. We’ve got some great skill kids, and they’re unselfish. We’ve got two really good quarterbacks. They just always have a good game plan, and the kids work hard. And Kenny Palmer’s one of the best offensive line coaches I’ve ever been around. I’m so happy to have coach Palmer.”
Seventh-ranked Mount Pisgah (7-2, 6-1) scored first when Jacob Cendoya scrambled around long enough to find Kai Williams, who went 68 yards for the touchdown just 17 seconds into the game.
Mount Paran took its first two drives inside the Mount Pisgah 35-yard line but came away with no points. However, the Eagles went 64, 75 and 87 yards, all on the ground, on their next three possessions for a 21-7 lead with 3:30 to play in the first half. Allen, Terry and Niko Vangarelli each had short touchdown runs. Vangarelli, who finished with 50 yards rushing on 12 carries, and Terry split time at quarterback for the Eagles.
Mount Pisgah closed the gap to 21-17 in the third quarter on an 8-yard touchdown pass from Cendoya to Trey Murphy and a 26-yard field goal by Peyton Broaddus, but the Patriots never got closer than the Mount Paran 48 on their final three possessions.
Terry pushed the lead back to 28-17 with a 45-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter, and Cam Moore had a 10-yard touchdown run with 4:29 to play. Moore finished with 40 yards on four carries, and Chandler Webber ran for 72 yards on 12 carries.
Mount Pisgah came into the game averaging 262 yards passing and 179 rushing, but the Patriots had to abandon the running game as they fell further behind. Mount Pisgah had just 12 rushing attempts for 52 yards, 32 of which came on the final two plays of the game.
Cendoya, a 1,000-yard rusher for the season, was limited to 5 yards on six carries. His passing numbers were right on his average for the season – 20-of-38 for 254 yards. Cendoya has 2,248 yards passing and 1,012 yards rushing for the season.
Williams had nine catches for 148 yards, putting him at 913 this season.
Mount Pisgah will conclude the regular season next week with a region crossover game at home against Trion (7-2).
“Kai Williams is a young man who if he gets out in the open, you’re not going to catch him,” Jordan said of the game’s opening play. “But our defense buckled up and adjusted. We had a great week of practice. A lot of the credit goes to the defensive staff. They did an incredible job getting ready, and offense made plays when they had to.”
Mount Pisgah Christian – 7-0-10-0 – 17
Mount Paran Christian – 7-14-7-7 – 35
Mount Pisgah – Kai Williams 68 pass from Jacob Cendoya (Peyton Broaddus kick)
Mount Paran – Jack Allen 6 run (Parker Rostowsky kick)
Mount Paran – Niko Vangarelli 7 run (Rostowsky kick)
Mount Paran – Kyle Terry 5 run (Rostowsky kick)
Mount Pisgah – Trey Murphy 8 pass from Cendoya (Broaddus kick)
Mount Pisgah – Broaddus 26 field goal
Mount Paran – Terry 45 run (Rostowsky kick)
Mount Paran – Cam Moore 10 run (Rostowsky kick)