Game-Winning Hail Mary Pushes Undefeated Concordia Past LSA

Last Friday night, Sept. 16th, on Concordia’s Middle School Appreciation Night, the Crusader football team beat Lutheran South Academy 28-21 on a game-winning touchdown heave. While the score seems rather straight forward, the game was anything but normal. In one of the best victories Schroeder Stadium has ever seen, the Crusaders moved to 4-0 on the 2022 season and have arrived at their bye week.

Concordia struggled to get anything moving on offense at the beginning of the game and was down 0-11 by the middle of the second quarter. FB Elijah S. (Sr.) broke the ice and got free for a 61-yard TD run to close the gap to put the Crusaders on the board, 7-11.

With the Pioneers driving with less than 3 minutes left in the 2nd quarter, DL Ben H. (Jr.) forced a fumble on one of his two sacks that DL Joe V. (Sr.) scooped up and was tackled just before paydirt. QB Seth H. (So.) quickly found WR Lou L. (Jr.) on a short pass in the endzone to give the Crusaders a 14-11 lead heading into halftime.

On the Crusaders’ opening drive to start the 2nd half, Pioneers forced a fumble and immediately scored to take back the lead, 18-14. After a solid defensive stand by Concordia’s defense, a muffed punt return by LSA gave Concordia the ball in Pioneer territory, the Crusaders gave the ball right back with a fumble of their own.  

DL Gianluca D. (Sr.) caused havoc all game with game-high 14 tackles and busted his way through the line to block a punt resulting in the ball in the redzone for Concordia. RB Ryan E. (Sr.) finished the drive off with a 12-yard scamper to give the Crusaders the 21-18 edge after three quarters.  

RB Ryan E. (Sr.) led the team in offense with 143 yards on 21 carries with 55 yards coming on one run to open the 4th quarter. The Crusaders got as close as the 2-yard line in one drive that ended with a missed FG, and then after forcing a punt, got down inside the 10-yard line again, but with the third fumble of the game, they failed to score on what could have been the nail in the coffin.

LSA responded by driving down the field and tied up the game at 21-21 with a 21-yard field goal after an impressive goal line stand by the Crusader defense.

With 1:26 left in the game with score locked at 21, the Crusaders started with the ball on their own 29-yard line. QB Louden S. (So.) quick draw run of 12 yards got the train moving. Two plays later, a 21-yard screen pass to RB Ryan E. (Sr.) got the ball down to the Pioneer 38-yard line. With all three timeouts left, Coach Amendola called their first to get the team settled.

With 0:44 seconds left on the clock and the Crusader student section screaming “I believe that we will win!” the team showed poise down the stretch. RB Ryan E. (Sr.) got the ball down to the LSA 36-yard line and with 0:25 seconds ticking down, QB Louden S. (So.) took a botched snap, avoided pressure, ran into his own running back, rolled to his left, threw across his body on the run, and hit a wide open WR Reece C. (Jr.) who had gotten behind the defense waiting on the doorstep of the endzone. The collective yell of Schroeder Stadium could be heard in downtown Tomball! 

It wasn’t the cleanest game on offense for both teams as the Crusaders had three fumbles lost and struggled to keep drives moving by only converting 1 of 10 third downs. The Pioneers struggled with three turnovers of their own (two fumbles lost and an interception), and nine penalties resulting in 55 yards.

Concordia continued to use a three-quarterback system to manage the offense with Louden S. (So.), Tanner H. (So.), and Seth H. (So.) all getting opportunities to lead drives. The trio finished 7/14 for 96 yards and two touchdowns. Seven different Crusaders ran the ball for a total of 256 yards and two touchdowns. While 3rd down was a struggle for Concordia, the team was 2 for 2 in 4th down conversions keeping necessary drives going. 

The game-winning play was part of VYPE’s Week 4 Plays of the Week nominees as well as being featured on ABC 13 news. Concordia avenged a 2021 loss to Lutheran South Academy with their win last Friday. CLHS has a 12-3 advantage over the Pioneers in their last 15 matchups.

The Crusaders (4-0 Overall) have a much-needed bye for Sept. 23rd and then will host The Woodlands Christian Academy Warriors (2-1 Overall) for their Homecoming Game on Friday, Sept. 30th at 7 pm. This will be the first meeting between the Crusaders and the Warriors even though the schools are separated by only 15 miles.

TWCA, a TAPPS 5A school, already owns an upset victory over a larger TAPPS 6A school by beating St. Pius X Catholic 17-7 earlier this month. The Warriors have failed to score more than 17 points in any of their games this season, and the Concordia defense will look to stifle them again on the 30th. The Crusaders are scoring almost 32 points a game while holding their opponents to less than 10 points a game.

2022 is the first time the Crusaders have opened a season with four wins since 2017 when Concordia started the year 6-0 and eventually finished 8-2.

As part of the Homecoming festivities, Concordia will welcome back the graduating classes of 1992, 2002, and 2012 for their 30, 20, and 10-year reunions in the Concordia Commons. All alumni and alumni parents are also invited to attend the Concordia Alumni Network’s Homecoming Tailgate in the North Endzone.

In case you missed the game, watch it on Concordia’s YouTube Channel, SaderNation TV at:  

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