CHATTANOOGA – Cade Law knew Thursday was going to be last time he’d suit up to play high school football at Christ Presbyterian Academy.
He just didn’t expect it to be so frustrating.
The decorated senior quarterback and the Lions were shut out by region rival Lipscomb Academy for a second time this season as the Mustangs clinched the school’s third championship with a 27-0 victory over CPA in the Division II-AA BlueCross Bowl at Finley Stadium.
Championship Football Photo Gallery – Christ Presbyterian Academy vs. Lipscomb Academy, DII-AA
The Lipscomb. Academy football team clinched the program's third state championship with a 27-0 win over Christ Presbyterian Academy on Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021 in the Division II-AA BlueCross Bowl at Finely Stadium in Chattanooga.
“It was special to be back in this game and I’m happy I got to go to war with these guys one last time, but we are not happy with the outcome,” said Law, who was sacked four times. “We definitely had our shots, but we just shot ourselves in the foot with penalties and turnovers.
“You can’t do that in games like this.”
One of the biggest momentum shifts happened late in the second quarter. After Law handed off to longtime teammate Langston Patterson, the bruising senior dashed up the sideline for a 55-yard run to get to the Mustangs 36-yard line with 1:22 to play in the first half.
A fumbled snap two plays later halted all the Lions momentum as Bryan Longwell scooped up the ball for Lipscomb Academy with just under a minute remaining.
Mustangs senior quarterback Luther Richesson then dropped a 55-yard strike to Nathan Spillman two plays after Longwell’s recovery and with six seconds left in the half, CPA was in a two-score hole instead of working to tie the game and score a break-through touchdown against Lipscomb Academy.
“We had a couple mistakes there and miscommunication in the secondary – that’s the difference in the first half,” said CPA coach Ingle Martin, who’s team reached the final for a fourth consecutive season.
The CPA defense was up to the challenge early allowing just one score and forcing two punts with Reid Williford snagging an interception as well. Patterson anchored the defense with eight tackles, while George Collier and Drew Webster added 5.5 tackles apiece, including two for loss and a sack for Collier.
Martin said his team continued to play hard, but penalties and a strong Mustangs' defensive performance kept the Lions from any breakthroughs. Edwin Spillman provided three momentum-shifting sacks and Kaleb Beasley broke up two passes for Lipscomb Academy.
Early in the third, Law had a 27-yard gain to Bo Burklow called back because of a holding call from the Mustangs 31-yard line. Law was then sacked by Sam Fisher on fourth down.
On the next Lipscomb Academy possession, Alex Broome capped a 9-play, 50-yard drive with a 4-yard touchdown run and a 20-0 lead with 1:50 to play in the third. Broome – who was named the championship game MVP – closed with 20 carries for 137 yards with two TDs and also snagged five catches for 23 yards.
CPA reached the Mustang 21 before going backward, again. Law took two sacks over the next four plays – both from Spillman – and the Lions turned the ball over on downs with 9:05 remaining.
“We were good on offense until we got to about the 30-yard line,” Martin said. “In between the 30s, we were there, but you know, that’s a well put together defense so there’s not a whole lot for the taking.”
The Mustangs marched 63 yards over the next 6:48, including Broome providing 48 yards on six carries. Maureice Sherrill got the edge and rushed for a 12-yard touchdown with 2:25 to play to cap the scoring.
“I really think we just believed in ourselves that we could do this,” said Broome.
“If they could hand out multiple MVPs, our defense should get it,” added Richesson.
The two Mustang seniors suffered a 35-28 loss against the Lions last year in the state final. They avenged that setback with a 38-0 shutout at home against CPA on Oct. 22 and then earned the title in the championship rematch.
“There’s the mentality that we built up all year that people can’t stop us,” Broome said. “We were on a mission and it’s just how many points they can settle for.”
The Mustangs only allowed multiple touchdowns in three games this year, including their lone loss on Sept. 23 at Class 6A finalist Oakland, 29-21.
“They’re tough,” Law said. “And it’s even tougher when you turn the ball over and get penalties like we did, but we never stopped fighting.
“It was awesome playing with this team. I love these guys more than anything.”
Martin said his senior class left a lasting legacy.
“Our community is indebted to them,” he said. “They left the bar high for the class behind them and that’s what you want, to leave it better than you found it – these guys certainly did.”
CPA closed the season with an 11-3 mark and two championships in four years. Lipscomb Academy closed 12-1 with the program’s first title since 2007.
Lipscomb Academy 27, Christ Presbyterian Academy 0, Division II-AA Championship
LA 0 13 7 7 – 27
CPA 0 0 0 0 – 0
2Q 11:17 L – Alex Broome 7 run (Grant Hyatt kick);
2Q 0:06 L – Nathan Spillman 55 pass from Luther Richesson (Kick failed);
3Q 1:50 L – Broome 4 run (Hyatt kick);
4Q 2:25 L – Maureice Sherrill 12 run (Portale kick).