By BAKER ELLIS
Shelby County Reporter
COLUMBIANA – The Hope Christian Eagles continued their 2016 winning ways Friday, beating visiting Lyman Ward 46-32 to move to 3-1 on the season. Hope, which is playing its home games this season at Cornerstone Christian School, opened up a 14-8 lead in the first quarter and went into the half up 38-16 before eventually winning by 14.
“It was a good game, we got to play a bunch of people at the end, which was nice,” Hope Christian head coach Tony Nafe said after the game. “They’ve (Lyman Ward) got a good team, they’ve got some good athletes and a new coach and they’re trying to find their feet, but they never quit.”
Juan Cuellar once again led the way for the Eagles this week, as he amassed 102 rushing yards on nine carries and scored three touchdowns on the ground. Cuellar also caught a pass for 28 yards as well. Josh Patton rushed for 95 yards on 13 carries and scored once on the ground, and was also 4-for-9 throwing the ball for 58 yards. The star of the night however, according to Nafe, was Shane Davis, who finished with 17 tackles to lead the defense.
“The star of the game was definitely Shane,” Nafe said. “They were calling his name all night.”
With the win Hope moved to 3-1 on the season, and moving into next week’s showdown with cross-county rival Evangel, Nafe feels better about his team than he has in a while.
“This is the best game we’ve played overall,” Nafe said. “We didn’t look this good all of last season. We have some work left to do on offense and defense, but nothing that’s not fixable. I’m not ready to say Hope Christian is back yet, but we’re close. We’re real close.”
Hope and Evangel will meet next Friday at the Columbiana Sports Complex for the first 11-man game between the two programs.