HUNTERSVILLE – This was what SouthLake Christian’s football team waited – and worked toward – for a year.

The Eagles, in a sweet reversal of fortune, beat Victory Christian 7-0 to win the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association Division III championship Nov. 15. It was the first football championship in SouthLake history and avenged last season’s five-point loss to Victory Christian in the state final.

SouthLake players and fans were oblivious to the cold rain as they danced, hugged and took turns posing for photographs with the state championship trophy.

The Eagles finished 11-1. Victory Christian was 7-5.

The game was a defensive battle throughout. After a scoreless first half, SouthLake’s defense forced turnovers on Victory Christian’s first two possessions in the third quarter. The first was a fumble that SouthLake linebacker Zack Dudan recovered at the Victory Christian 29-yard line. Two plays later, SouthLake running back Robert Washington Jr. burst up the middle for a 22-yard touchdown run.

Jeremy Silinski’s extra point gave the Eagles a 7-0 lead.

There was no more scoring, but the second half didn’t lack excitement. On Victory Christian’s next possession, the Kings drove to the SouthLake 21. But the Eagles forced a fumble that linebacker Jalen Nash recovered.

Freshman defensive back Aapri Washington leaped to make an interception that killed a Victory Christian possession in the first half.