Battle for Atoka III: TCW defeats Lighthouse Christian in another close game.
The Tomball Christian Warriors beat the Lighthouse Christian Chargers for the first time on September 24, 2022. The final score was 17-14, with the Warriors winning by a field goal in the 4th quarter. The victory allowed them to take revenge on the team that beat them in last year’s championship game and has beat them in every matchup before this game.
The 1st quarter consisted of 3 offensive drives and 2 defensive drives. The Warriors received the kickoff and went 3 and out on their first drive. The longest play of the short series was a 5 yard run by OLB/RB Caleb Harmon. On their first offensive possession, the Chargers made it to the Warrior 15 yard line before pressure from the defensive line stopped the drive. TCW received the ball on their 15 yard line and once again, the offense struggled. They punted after 4 plays and the Chargers had possession at their 33 yard line. Their first play of the drive was a long pass to the Warriors’ 22 yard line. After that, the defense held the offense in the red zone for several plays. However, the Chargers found the end zone on a 5 yard passing touchdown, went up 7-0, and kicked off to the Warriors. Caleb Harmon took the ball to the 43 yard line on his return and the offense went to work as the 1st quarter ended. The Chargers led 7-0.
A false start stalled the drive and TCW was forced to punt again. They had a total of three drives on offense and two on defense during the 2nd quarter. The Charger offense only had two plays on their first offensive series of the quarter before Caleb Harmon intercepted a pass. He ran to the Chargers’ 17 yard line, and the offense tried to utilize the good field position. The Warriors didn’t get a first down as they rushed 4 straight times. RB/CB Daniel Abraham had the longest play on that short drive with a run for 5 yards. The defense returned to the field on a turnover on downs. The Charger offense drove down the field and scored a rushing touchdown after 7 total plays. They made the extra point and went up by 2 touchdowns. Daniel Abraham received the kickoff and ran to the Charger 39 yard line. Once again, the offense had good field position but wasn’t able to score. They went three and out and the first half ended. The Chargers led 14-0. The Warrior offense had struggled and hadn’t taken advantage of the strong defensive performance. However, there was a lot of time left in the game. It was far from over.
In the 3rd quarter, the Warriors played 3 series on offense and 3 on defense. The Chargers got the ball at their 36 yard line and were stopped by pressure from NG/DT/FB Joe Cassidy, who sacked the quarterback to end the series. They received the ball for their first offensive drive of the quarter and started on the Chargers’ 43 yard line. Caleb Harmon ran for 9 yards on 1st down and 3 yards on 3rd down, giving the Warriors 1st and 10 at the Chargers’ 33 yard line. Two plays later, QB Drew Harrison threw a 28 yard touchdown pass to WR/SS Josiah Stavinoha. K/WR Ethan Rice’s extra point was good and the Warriors were finally on the board. The score was now 7-14. Ethan Rice kicked off and the Chargers got the ball at their 25 yard line. They only attempted one pass on the drive and after 7 plays and 2 1st downs, they punted to the Warriors. The offense went 3 and out on their series and punted. WR/CB Jackson Resurreccion continued to make an impact on special teams, tackling the returner after a 4 yard gain. The Chargers received the ball at the Warrior 48 yard line. The defense was impressive on the next series. Joe Cassidy sacked the quarterback on the first play, followed by a TFL by DE/TE Luke Harrison and OLB/RB/FB Garrett England. On 3rd down, Garrett broke up a pass and the Chargers were forced to punt. The Warrior offense received the ball at their 11 yard line. On the second play of the drive, RB/MLB/TE Ezra Criswell had a 24 yard run. As the 3rd quarter ended, Drew Harrison rushed for 4 yards. The score was 14-7 going into the 4th quarter.
The offense continued their drive from the previous quarter and played a total of 3 series in the 4thquarter. The defense had 2. Daniel Abraham rushed for a total of 11 yards on his next 3 carries, giving the Warriors a 1st down at their own 45 yard line. Jackson Resurreccion caught a pass for 7 yards, followed by a 17 yard run by Caleb Harmon. 2 plays later, Daniel Abraham was open and caught a pass at the 17 yard line. He ran along the sideline all the way to the 3 yard line before he was tackled. Caleb Harmon evaded a tackle in the backfield and shoved his way through the defensive line into the end zone. Ethan Rice kicked the extra point and the game was tied 14-14. He kicked off to the Chargers’ 16 yard line and the defense forced a 3 and out. The punt was high and the Warriors received the ball at their 49 yard line. Caleb Harmon had a 32 yard run on the first play of the drive, taking the ball down to the Chargers’ 17 yard line. After that, the offense wasn’t able to get a first down and they attempted a field goal. The first try was wide left but the Chargers were flagged for roughing the kicker. On his second try, Ethan Rice made the field goal and the Warriors took a lead for the first time during the game. The score was now 17-14. Ethan kicked off and then ran down the field to tackle the returner at the Chargers’ 20 yard line. The defense gave up two long passes on the first two plays of the drive and the Chargers had the ball at the Warrior 11 yard line. Joe Cassidy was practically untouched as he ran right past an offensive lineman for a TFL. The drive ended with a turnover on downs. The Warriors received the ball within their red zone and ran down the clock as Caleb Harmon and Daniel Abraham rushed 5 straight times. They only got one first down and punted the ball. As the clock ran out, Ethan Rice’s punt bounced on the ground and the returner was brought down as the buzzer sounded. The Warriors won 17-14. The past three games against Lighthouse have all been losses, including a 27-24 defeat in the 2021 championship game. However, the Warriors settled the score on Saturday with 17 unanswered points and a hard-earned victory. These two teams will likely face each other at Nationals, and the Warriors will be more than ready to beat the Chargers again.
Drew Harrison completed 3 of 10 passes for 64 yards and a passing touchdown. His QBR was 87.1. Daniel Abraham had the most receiving yards with one catch for 29 yards. Josiah Stavinoha had the second most receiving yards with a touchdown reception for 28 yards. Jackson Resurreccion had the third most receiving yards of the game with one catch for 7 yards. Caleb Harmon led the team in rushing with 85 total yards on 10 carries. His longest run was for 32 yards and he also scored a rushing touchdown. Daniel Abraham had 28 yards on 9 rushing attempts, and Ezra Criswell had 25 yards on 5 attempts.
OLB/LT Reagan Zbylot led the team in tackles with a total of 11. He also had a TFL. Joe Cassidy had the second most tackles on the team with 10. He was in the backfield often and collected 4 TFLs and 3 sacks. Mark Haynes and Garrett England tied for the third most tackles with 9. Garrett had 2 TFLs and Mark had 1 sack and 2 TFLs. Conner Burke and Ezra Criswell tied for the fourth most tackles with 8 each, and Ezra had 2 TFLs.
I interviewed Reagan Zbylot about the offensive line’s performance, finally getting to play against Lighthouse, and preparing for a 10:00 am game.
Ella: Considering the history between these two teams, how do you feel about our overall performance today?
Reagan: I feel like we didn’t execute as well in the first half. In the first quarter we were hanging low just a little bit. We picked it up a little bit in the second quarter and we came out in the second half, really got our minds right, and got back in the game and really executed well.
Ella: How do you feel about your performance? What did you do well and what can you improve on?
Reagan: On defense I feel like I played pretty well. There are definitely areas I can improve on. I mean there were a couple of plays that I could have made the play if I wrapped up and tackled a little better. In the first half, I didn’t execute as well as I should have, especially on offense. But in the second half I kind of picked it up there playing left tackle. We had Tom start communicating a little better and we were able to pick up their stunts and different things.
Ella: How did the o-line execute on run blocking and pass protection?
Reagan: In the first quarter like I said I feel like I could have executed just a little bit better and even a little bit into the second quarter. But in the second half our pass protection got a lot better and especially in the second half we started running the ball a lot more, and our run blocking was really good. We were able to really hold our blocks and Tom was able to get to the second level when he was chipping with me.
Ella: Last year you got injured early in the season and weren’t able to play in either of the games against Lighthouse. How did it feel to finally get on the field against them?
Reagan: It felt great. It meant everything to me because I haven’t been able to play football in a year. Last year I had to sit on the sidelines and watch the game. I had to watch a lot of games from the sidelines but especially this game hurt the most. Especially knowing that last year if I could have been in I could have made a difference so that was painful watching that from the sidelines. I just kind of took that pain from last year and played with it today so it meant a lot for me.
Ella: Who are some of your teammates that stood out to you this afternoon?
Reagan: Caleb. He’s a dawg; he was running the rock really well. Garrett was having a really good game playing linebacker and I think he had a couple carries playing fullback. Especially on linebacker; getting the strong sides and everything correct and really just plugging up the gaps in the middle. He was really balling out. Joe had a really good game; he was taking double teams and getting in the backfield, you know the little pass rush force. Our coverage in the first half wasn’t that great but in the second half we kind of picked it up a little bit. Carias and Petey kind of picked it up in the second half as well. Drew had a good game, Stav had a good game; it was really just a team win all around so there’s not really just one guy you can single out.
Ella: How is the preparation different for a game at 10:00 in the morning versus a game at 7:00 in the evening?
Reagan: It was different. I didn’t get a whole lot of sleep last night just because I was thinking about the game the whole time. It didn’t affect my play in any way because I was still ready to go. I really got a lot of sleep the night before. I mean, I still slept, just didn’t sleep as good but it was different just having to play in the morning like that. I definitely think that it might have been a little bit of an advantage for us, especially in the second half because the Missouri team wasn’t used to the heat so they definitely were feeling it. Whereas we were used to the heat so we could kind of play through it.
Ella: How does it feel to finally get a win against a team that has beat us in 3 straight matchups?
Reagan: It means everything. We proved ourselves that we’re deserving to be the number one homeschool team in the nation. And that was our goal coming in here today; that we were going to prove ourselves to all the people that are hating on us because they just don’t respect us. We wanted to put some respect on our name and come out here and get a win and prove to everybody that we are the best homeschool team in the nation.
Note: The Tomball Christian Warriors play Cypress Christian at 7:30 pm on Friday, September 30th. The game is at Cypress Christian. Check the TCW social media for updates on changes to the location or time.
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