JACKSONVILLE — Jacksonville Christian was one quarter away from ending a losing streak that dates back to the 2006 season, but 21 unanswered fourth-quarter points by Victory Christian handed the Thunder a 28-14 loss Friday night.
JCA (0-3, 0-2 Class 1A, Region 5) came into the fourth quarter with a 14-7 lead, but Victory Christian capitalized on two consecutive JCA three-and-outs and a Stephen Hurst interception to come back in the game’s final 10 minutes.
“We played hard through three quarters, and we didn’t play as hard in the fourth,” JCA coach Tommy Miller said. “We can’t complain about any effort or anything through three quarters, but Victory wanted it more than we did in the fourth quarter. They sucked it up and got it.”
After both teams played a scoreless first half, JCA wasted no time in scoring on its first possession of the third quarter, when Hurst hit Jacob Bollinger in the corner of the end zone from 35 yards out to make it 7-0 with 8:10 left in the third.
“Stephen has gotten better and better as a quarterback,” Miller said. “We need to protect him a little better than what we’ve done. He’s turned into a quality quarterback here. Hopefully through the rest of the season, he’s just going to get better.”
After VCA quarterback Michael Kirby tied the game on an 11-yard keeper, the Thunder got a 55-yard run from fullback David Parris to regain the lead at 14-7 with just less than five minutes left in the quarter.
Parris rushed for 107 yards on seven carries on the night.
JCA remained in control until the 10:07 mark in the fourth, when the Lions marched down the field on a 13-play drive that ate nearly five minutes off the clock and tied the game at 14. Kirby hit Joshua Tinsley in the back of the end zone from 10 yards out for the score.
Victory Christian took the lead with 3:20 to go, when Mitchell Toombs scored on a 35-yard run to make it 21-14, then put the game out of reach when Tinsley returned the Hurst interception for a touchdown.
JCA visits Jefferson Christian next week.