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Patriots best APA, clinch home playoff game next week

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Faith Christian School's Hobart Brantley, right, is tackled by Arendell Parrott Academy's Gabe Braswell on Friday at Faith Christian School.

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By SAMUEL EVERS
Sports Writer

Friday, October 19, 2018

On Thursday afternoon, in proper coach speak, Faith Christian coach Russell Weinstein promised he and and his team were focused solely on Friday night, and not the ensuing playoff prep.

A day later, Weinstein and the Patriots can start planning: Faith Christian is going to host its first ever postseason game.

The Patriots (7-1, 5-1), hosting Arendell Parrott Academy (5-3, 4-2) on Friday night, won, 42-19, clinching the No. 2 seed in the NCISAA’s 2-A. Entering the game, FCS and APA were tied for No. 2. The winner would host the other in the first round, so, with the result, APA will come back to Rocky Mount next Friday and have to try and beat the Patriots again.

Elsewhere in the conference, Rocky Mount Academy beat Cary Christian on Friday night, 63-0, clinching the fourth seed. The Eagles will travel to No. 1 seed Raleigh St. David’s next Friday for their first-round game.

Last year, in its first season as a football program, FCS took the short trip over to RMA for the first round of the playoffs. They wanted no part of a road game, no matter how far, this season.

“We feel like we deserved another home game. We have a ton of seniors, we’ve done a good job transitioning from the practice field to the playing field,” said FCS running back Shaikey Hardy, who finished with 205 rushing yards with five touchdowns on Friday night.

The game, entering halftime, was close, with the Patriots leading by just a 14-13 score. But two minutes into the second half, running back Hobart Brantley, who, alongside Hardy, had 209 yards, broke a 55-yard run for a touchdown to make it 22-13.

The defense held APA on a fourth-down after letting up a second-and-one situation near midfield, and, three minutes later, Hardy broke another long touchdown run to turn the game from a one-point contest to a 28-13 difference in just five minutes of play.

“Both times we were able to slip out the back door and get down the sideline a little bit, they showed their speed on those runs,” Weinstein said. “But I thought the play of the game was when we stopped them on fourth-down at the 50. I thought after that, I felt the momentum shifting towards us.”

Three things

1. APA and FCS will play each other for the second time in two weeks next Friday with a trip to the championship on the line. It’s a strange situation, said Weinstein.

“I ain’t crazy about it. It is the way it’s set up,” he said. “They’ve got a good football team. They’re well-coached. They’ve got a lot of tradition. At halftime it was a great football game period.”

2. Reynolds Barringer, the quarterback for APA, threw 28 times on Friday night, two of which went for touchdowns. He finished with 265 yards passing. He was also the backup: Zach Vendemia, the starting quarterback didn’t play. Weinstein said he expects Vendemia to play next week.

3. The big lead late in the game gave the Patriots a chance to get other seniors involved in the game. The crowd cheered when senior running back Sam Richardson got three straight late-game carries.

“He’s been so dedicated in the program. Whatever we ask him to do, he’ll do it. I just like to reward kids that are loyal to the program and work hard,” Weinstein said.

He said it

Hardy, on the running back tandem of him and Brantley: “I love playing with Hobart. I block for him and he blocks for me. We’re best friends on and off the field. We have that close bond.”

Scoring plays

First quarter

FCS — Shaikey Hardy 7 run (Hardy run), 6:54

Second quarter

APA — Reynolds Barringer to Jonah Beaman 28 pass (Kolby Jones kick), 10:25

APA — Barringer to Matt Huntley 50 pass (kick fail), 6:26

FCS — Hardy 47 run (rush fail), 6:10

Third quarter

FCS — Hobart Brantley 55 run (Brantley run), 10:00

FCS — Hardy 53 run (rush fail), 7:11

Fourth quarter

FCS — Hardy 4 run (Hardy run), 10:10

FCS — Hardy 3 run (rush fail), 5:24

APA — Dallas Hill 8 run (rush fail), 1:58

Up next

Faith Christian will host APA again next Friday.

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