ACA suffers key injury heading into St. James battle
By Tim Gayle
No one’s talking about the elephant in the room as St. James and Alabama Christian gear up for the biggest game of the year.
ACA is off to the best start in school history at 7-0, but suffered a huge loss last week when quarterback Reece Solar was injured in a 35-10 win at Ashford.
Solar reportedly suffered a broken jaw in the game, which would sideline him for this week’s game – and potentially for the next several weeks – but neither ACA coach Nate Sanford nor St. James coach Jimmy Perry wanted to speak on the subject.
Perry said he preferred not to talk about his opponents’ personnel regarding their health and said the Trojans would prepare for the Eagles as if all of their players were available.
“They’re having the best season they’ve ever had and they’re playing well,” Perry said. “The running back’s real good, the quarterback’s good, they’ve got good receivers, they’re good up front on both sides of the ball. It’s going to take a great effort on our part just to stay with them.
“We’ve got to do our job on defense, be gap sound and solid in everything that we do and tackle well.”
Sanford said he has made it a policy not to discuss a player’s status for upcoming games.
Solar is the leading rusher and passer on the team, rushing for 700 yards and 12 touchdowns on 79 carries and completing 63 of 101 passes for 949 yards and 12 touchdowns. He had the Eagles playing the role of spoiler last year with St. James before the Trojans scored a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns for a 28-16 win.
“I remember last year in this game, we felt like we shot every last thing we had at them but they were a better team than we were,” Sanford said. “We were ahead in the fourth quarter but they just leaned on us heavy with their running game in the fourth quarter and walked away with it.
“They’ve got this seemingly unending group of offensive linemen that have started for three years. You look for a weakness or a guy that’s not as good as the others and it’s hard to find. On paper, we’re stopping the run better than we were last year. I don’t think we’ve played a team as big and tough at running the ball as St. James is, but our guys have confidence as well in our defense.”