Unity Christian hit a few early road bumps against Holy Ground Baptist Academy on Friday night at Grizzard Park, but the Lions’ offense kept churning and the defense forced key turnovers, leading to a big 76-34 non-region win.

While the final score turned out lopsided in Unity’s favor. The Stallions kept the game close, even grabbing an 8-6 lead after a kickoff return touchdown in the first quarter and keeping the Lions within six points early in the second quarter at 28-22.

“I’m proud of how the guys responded and kept playing well. Holy Ground was a physical football team,” Unity head coach David Humphreys said. “Hopefully, we just keep learning from our mistakes and get better from it.”

Unity quarterback John Nance ensured the Stallions couldn’t keep up with the Lions. The senior signal-caller scored his fourth rushing touchdown of the night on a three-yard jaunt early in the second quarter, extending the Lions’ lead to 36-22. After Unity’s Cooper Giddens’ 60-yard punt return, Nance scored on a 12-yard touchdown run, upping the lead to 44-22.

After Holy Ground managed to score, cutting the lead to 44-28 with about four minutes remaining in the first half, Nance answered again on the first play on Unity’s next drive with a 56-yard touchdown run. And just to prove his arm is as good as his legs, Nance threw two touchdown passes to close out the first half, staking Unity to a 68-28 lead.

All told, Nance rushed for 197 yards and scored six touchdowns in the first half.

“John Nance is a special player. The thing about him is he has great ability to run the football. He’s got great balance and great vision. He’s a very hard guy to tackle,” Humphreys said. “He’s one of the best running backs I’ve ever been around as far as you can’t put a good hit on him. He does a great job.”

While Unity’s defense allowed some points, the Lions also came away with a few takeaways in the game. Harrison Hill intercepted two passes, including one that he almost brought back for a pick six until an illegal block wiped out the touchdown. Bailey Mohler also had an interception as did Cooper Giddens. Nate Giddens also added a fumble recovery.

Mohler also contributed a rushing touchdown, and Cooper Giddens scored on a touchdown reception. Their touchdowns came in the second half helping Unity finish the game with the 76-34 win.

Nance finished the night hitting 6-of-8 passes for 168 yards and three touchdowns, including the longest strike of the night to Price Dyer early in the opening quarter.

The win moves Unity’s record to 5-2, and the Lions hit the road next week to face Lanier in a big region contest.

“Lanier has played some close games. They are well coached. It’s going to challenge us,” Humphreys said. “We are going to get hit in the mouth, so we are going to have to respond to that.”

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