Henry Rutledge, like his Charlotte Christian teammates, is unbeatable in NCISAA title games.
The junior ran for 183 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 19 carries in the Knights’ 38-21 win against Christ School in the Division I championship at Christian for the team’s third consecutive title.
Christian piled up 306 yards rushing as it set the tone on the ground.
“I’m trying for four rings in a row,” Rutledge said. “I want to go for four, and I believe we can go for four. We have all the pieces. We just need to execute.”
Christ School put Christian in an early hole on Navy Shuler’s 12-yard pass to Aydon White, but the Knights responded with a pair of scores over a 20-second span to seize the momentum.
Rutledge tied the score at 7 on a 34-yard run with 10:19 in the second quarter, followed by Chip Kasay’s 37-yard interception return to put Christian ahead for good.
The Knights stretched their advantage in the second half behind the ground attack, capped by J.B. Awolowo’s 68-yard sprint to cap the scoring.
“When J.B. broke that touchdown, we just lost it,” Rutledge said. “That’s when we knew we had it in the bag.”
Records: Christ School 6-4; Charlotte Christian 8-2.
Three who mattered
Henry Rutledge: Charlotte Christian’s running back put in a big first half with 112 yards and a pair of touchdowns on nine carries. His 3-yard sweep around right end put the Knights ahead 21-7.
Chip Kasay: Charlotte Christian cornerback’s 37-yard interception return for a second-quarter touchdown changed the game’s complexion and gave the Knights a jolt of momentum.
Hudson Jones: The Knights sophomore lineman excelled with a fumble recovery and sack in the first half.
▪ Both teams converted fourth-down opportunities into touchdowns. Rutledge’s 3-yard run gave Charlotte Christian a 21-7 lead in the second quarter, and Christ School quarterback Navy Shuler’s pass to Charlie Browder came 14 seconds before intermission.
▪ Christ School’s kick-return squad consistently set the Greenies up with advantageous field position. Returner Aydan White’s longest run was a 55-yarder that led to Browder’s touchdown reception.
▪ Shuler completed 12-of-19 passes in the first half for 106 yards and two scores, including the pass Browder to pull the Greenies to within 21-14.
▪ After four unsportsmanlike conduct penalties on a Christ School touchdown, the Greenies kicked off from Christian’s 15. Christ School’s onside kick was recovered by the Knights on their 2.
▪ Kasay’s interception wasn’t the only big play from Christian’s secondary. Safety Logan Jones broke up three passes, including a couple in the end zone.
▪ Christian’s cheering section serenaded the Knights late in the fourth with chants of “three-peat” to mark the occasion.
They said it
“To get those (back-to-back scores) was so huge for us. Words can’t describe how important that interception was for us. It swung the momentum for us completely.” — Rutledge on Kasay’s interception return for a touchdown.
Christ School 7 7 0 7-21
Charlotte Christian 0 21 10 7-38
CS — Aydan White 12-yard pass from Navy Shuler (Henry Duggins kick)
CC — Henry Rutledge 34-yard run (Benjamin Shropshire kick)
CC — Chip Kasay 37-yard interception return (Shropshire kick)
CC —Rutledge 3-yard run (Shropshire kick)
CS — Charlie Browder 4-yard pass from Shuler (Duggins kick)
CC — Shropshire 19-yard field goal
CC — J.B. Awolowo 8-yard run (Shropshire kick)
CS — Pierce Hammonds 13-yard run (Duggins kick)
CC —J.B. Awolowo 68-yard run (Shropshire kick)