The Grove City Christian High School football team steamrolled the opposition on the way to finishing 9-1. That one loss, however, was enough to keep the Eagles out of the Division VI, Region 24 playoffs.

The Grove City Christian High School football team steamrolled the opposition on the way to finishing 9-1. That one loss, however, was enough to keep the Eagles out of the Division VI, Region 24 playoffs.

Grove City Christian lost to Troy Christian 34-12 on Sept. 26. Troy Christian remained in the playoff chase in the region until late, finishing 14th. Grove City Christian finished 12th behind first-place Mechanicsburg.

"We weren't ready to play and they were," coach Clyde Lucas said of the loss to Troy Christian. "They're a decent team. It comes down to that we didn't take care of business that game."

The Eagles closed last Friday with a 66-6 win over the Fairfield Christian Knights, a club team. Junior running back Jesse Barns rushed for 353 yards on 23 carries, scored four touchdowns and threw a touchdown pass. He scored on runs of 12, 2, 40 and 62 yards.

For the season, Grove City Christian averaged 47.2 points a game and allowed 9.3 a game. The Eagles surpassed the 50-point mark four times, including a 96-20 thrashing of Manchester on Oct. 3.

Aside from the loss, Grove City Christian's closest game was a 27-6 win against Franklin Furnace Green on Sept. 12.

"It was a surprising season to a certain extent," Lucas said. "We accomplished a lot of things this year. We were very happy."

The Eagles will lose just four seniors and expects to return the nucleus of their high-powered offense and stingy defense.

Senior Zack Vance was third on the team in rushing with 29 carries for 351 yards and seven touchdowns. Senior cornerback J.T. Thomas had a team-leading seven interceptions.

"Two or three of the seniors played a full-time role," Lucas said. "They all played some. The seniors brought a lot of leadership to the team."

Leading the charge next season should be Barns, who rushed for 1,606 yards and 18 touchdowns on 152 carries. He added 14 receptions for 336 yards and four touchdowns.

Junior quarterback Christopher Bowman completed 76 of 136 passes for 1,517 yards and 22 scores. Bowman's favorite target was his twin brother, Brice, who caught 28 passes for 555 yards and 10 touchdowns. Junior Cody Lucas, the coach's son, caught 13 passes for 288 yards and two scores.

Coach Lucas expects his entire offensive line to return.

"We have our whole offensive line coming back which produced a 1,600-yard back, that's big," coach Lucas said.

At a glance

•Record: 9-1

•Seniors lost: Joe DeVault, Chad Mayeran, J.T. Thomas and Zach Vance

•Key returnees: Jesse Barns, Dylan Blythe, Brice Bowman, Christopher Bowman, Cody Lucas, Garrett Peters and Evan Wiggall