By Johnny Falduto of Friday Night Final - only on The ROAR
Down 13-7 with just 0:15 left on the clock, Christ Church quarterback Woods Windham found B.J. Atkins in the end zone and kicker Constantine Gandis converted the extra point to give the Cavaliers (6-0, 9-1) a thrilling 14-13 come-from-behind victory over Southside Christian (4-1, 5-4) and their first Region Championship since 2014.
“It all felt amazing, it was unbelievable,” said Atkins, whose three catches of the game all came on the final game-winning drive for a total of 51 yards. “Hearing the crowd and just seeing my teammates rush over was amazing. I had family from out of town at the game and to show up in a game like that is memorable.”
“B.J.‘s a go-to guy. We’ve been playing sports together since freshman year and 7v7’s all throughout the summer, so I knew I could count on him to make a play,” said Windham, who finished the game 9/18 for 104 yards and an interception to go along with the game winning touchdown pass.
Christ Church faced a 10-0 deficit going into the half, with a field goal from Southside’s Isaac Masone and a touchdown run from Kylar Zimmerman giving the Sabres the advantage after the two opening quarters. Zimmerman, a sophomore, finished with 115 total yards on 16 carries.
It wouldn’t be until late in the third quarter when Christ Church finally got on the board, as Dashun Reeder’s ninth touchdown over his last three games cut the now 13-point lead to just 6, and the 13-7 score would hold until the last game-winning drive from Christ Church.
“Southside’s defense was focused on me and keeping me in the box, making sure that I couldn’t bounce outside,” said Reeder, who still managed to finish with 125 yards on 25 carries. “Their physicality was a tough challenge to face, and it made it hard to break free.”
Christ Church’s late-game heroics did not come as a surprise to Windham, who noted that “Our line stepped up big (in the second half) so I knew I was going to have time, so the receivers and I just needed to be on the same page and make some plays.” He was also quick to credit his defense, who made several big plays to keep the team within striking distance: “When the defense plays well like they did tonight, you have got to put points on the board offensively,” he said. “It took us a little bit to get going, but we finished strong.”
No. 1 seed Christ Church hosts McBee (1-3, 4-6) next Friday, while Southside Christian hosts Blackville-Hilda (2-4, 2-7) in the opening round of the state playoffs for both teams.
“This win proves we have what it takes to win it all, and we’re definitely still looking to improve,” said Windham, with Atkins adding that “It’s huge for us to come into the playoffs with this type of win and with this momentum, and it should inspire us to keep pushing forward to the next title.”
Tune in to Friday Night Final for playoff scores and updates.