Sun Sports Writer
Now 1-3 (0-1) on the season, the WC Commanders will travel to Louisville to play the Christian Academy-Louisville (CAL) Centurions this Friday night.
CAL, who is coached by former University of Louisville and Carolina Panthers quarterback Stefan LeFors, improved to 4-0 (1-0) on the year with a 62-0 win against the Thomas Nelson Generals last Friday night.
In contrast to the teams the Commanders have played so far this season, the Centurions rely more on their strong air attack rather than their ground game.
On the season, senior quarterback Nathan Christmas has thrown for 564 yards, seven touchdown passes and two interceptions. He has accomplished this with 44 completions on 71 pass attempts for a 61.9 completion percentage.
Christmas’ favorite target is senior wide receiver Chad Lewellyn.
According to Rivals, he is a 6’4”, 188-pound two-star recruit who has received a Division 1 scholarship offer from Navy University.
Lewellyn has secured 18 catches for 258 yards and three touchdowns on the season.
“They move him around a lot to try to get him in the football,” Sagrecy said. “Our goal is to just keep him in front of us and wrap him up when he touches the ball. He’s a good player, but one guy can’t win a game.”
While their strength is their passing game, the Centurions are also a tough running team.
Junior running back Nick Payne has gained 314 yards and six touchdowns on 69 attempts.
Payne isn’t targeted often out of the backfield, however, only hauling in three catches for four yards on the season.
With Payne out last week against Thomas Nelson, sophomore running back Tanner Lopez replaced him in the starting lineup and racked up 115 yards and a touchdown on 12 touches.
Lopez did not record a catch in the game, though.
Sagrecy is unsure which running back will start on Friday night, but with either one, he knows their running game will be hard to stop.
“They really use the run to set up the pass, and they do it effectively,” Sagrecy said. “They’re going to run the ball early, which sets them up with some play-action opportunities, which they love to run. But how successful they are at it will be determined by how we play the run early in the ball game.”
WC’s last two meetings with CAL have been competitive, with a seven-point loss in 2011 and a 27-3 defeat this past season. In last year’s contest, WC’s offense was plagued by turnovers, throwing four picks in the game, two of which were returned for touchdowns.
However, in WC’s past two meetings with CAL, the Commanders defense has been quite successful, especially at stopping the Centurions’ passing attack. Last season, Christmas threw for only 75 yards on 7 of 16 attempts for a completion percentage of 44, and Lewellyn was held to 47 yards on five catches.
They were even more successful the year before, holding CAL’s previous quarterback to 62 yards on 4 of 15 passing. Lewellyn hauled in half of those completions for 35 yards and a touchdown.
Friday night’s game will serve as both teams’ second district game of the season.