OCALA – Faith Christian quarterback Anthony Mcwhorter ran for four touchdowns and tossed a pair of scoring passes to lead the Lions to their first win of the season in a 48-14 victory over Ocala Christian on Thursday night.
The Faith Christian defense forced four turnovers and returned a blocked punt for a touchdown in a game that was played in a steady downpour in the first half as the Lions improved to 1-7.
The loss dropped Ocala Christian to 1-6 on the season.
“We’re a passing offense and when you play in weather like this it makes it very difficult,” said Crusaders head coach Dan Young. “By the end of the first half, the ball weighed about 30 pounds which made it hard to throw. We had wide-open receivers and just couldn’t get the ball to them. We’re going to keep working to get better.”
Faith Christian (Orlando) struck first when Mcwhorter capped a 56-yard drive with a 14-yard scoring run around right end. The extra point by Sergio Calderon gave the Lions a 7-0 lead with 4:19 left in the first quarter.
Ocala Christian answered in a hurry as senior quarterback Colton Bloom hit wide receiver Cian Bloom on a slant pass that went 58 yards for a touchdown. The 2-point run was stuffed and the Crusaders trailed by a score of 7-6.
Faith Christian, which attempted only seven passes on the night, kept the ball on the ground on its next drive that began at its own 47. On the second play, Mcwhorter, a 5-foot-7, elusive senior, weaved his way through the Ocala Christian defense for a 46-yard touchdown run. The point after made it 14-6 with 8:23 left in the second period.
As the rain began to come down even harder, Ocala Christian’s defense recovered a Faith Christian fumble at the Lions 28.
The Crusaders capitalized as Colton Bloom hit sophomore wide receiver Dillon Tester on a 21-yard pass over the middle, and junior running back Keiron Williams bulled his way into the end zone from 7 yards out. The 2-point pass from Colton Bloom to Jett Bloom in the right corner of the end zone tied the score at 14 with 1:51 left in the first half.
Faith Christian recovered an onside kick and scored in two plays as Mcwhorter scampered 42 yards for a touchdown to give the Lions a 20-14 lead at the half.
A short punt by Ocala Christian gave Faith Christian excellent field position at its 47. Mcwhorter broke loose for a 53-yard scoring jaunt. The extra point put the Lions up 27-14 midway through the third quarter. Mcwhorter finished with 167 rushing yards.
Ocala Christian’s next drive ended with a blocked punt that was returned 48 yards for a touchdown by Hector Manuel Diaz to give Faith Christian a 33-14 lead with 5:38 remaining in the third quarter.
The rain let up and Ocala Christian marched down the field as Colton Bloom, who completed 9-of-20 passes for 147 yards, hit Cian Bloom on a pass to the Lions 27. Williams, who rushed for 68 yards, picked up a first down, but an interception ended the threat.
The interception was returned to the Crusaders 34, and Faith Christian found the end zone again as Mcwhorter hit Michael Ruiz on a 4-yard touchdown pass.
Faith Christin tallied a final score as Mcwhorter tossed a 57-yard touchdown pass to Christian Washington.
“We’ve had some injuries and we don’t have much depth,” coach Young said. “Colton had a severe sprain three weeks ago and we’re lucky to have him out here playing even though he’s hobbling a little bit. We’ve got some guys coming back soon and hopefully we can finish the season strong.”