Just in case anyone had written off the Christ Presbyterian Academy football team, now might be a good time to write the Lions back in.
After opening the season with four straight losses while playing one of the state’s most challenging schedules, CPA turned some heads Friday night by rolling to a 28-0 victory over previously-unbeaten Battle Ground Academy in a rematch — and, in some ways, repeat — of last year’s Division II-AA state championship game.
CPA quarterback Cade Law rushed for three touchdowns and passed for another for the Lions (1-4, 1-0 DII-AA Middle), who set the tone for the win in the first quarter by putting together a powerful — though plodding — 18-play, 80-yard scoring drive that lasted more than 10 minutes.
Law finished with a team-high 82 rushing yards on 13 carries and also completed 5-of-8 passes for 53 yards.
CPA defeated BGA twice last season, including posting a 41-21 victory in the Blue Cross Bowl to cap their undefeated season. The Lions lost 31 players to graduation from that team, but proved on Friday night that they still have plenty of weapons, plenty of confidence and plenty of potential to be a force, as usual, in DII-AA, despite the early-season skid.
“We have kept our heads up,” said CPA running back Tyler Reid, who had a six-yard TD reception against BGA (4-1, 1-1). “We knew we were playing a tough schedule, and we knew it would make us better as the year went along. And now, we’re 1-0 in the division — and that’s what we care about.”
Reid rushed for 58 yards on 13 carries to help fuel CPA’s relentless rushing attack, which compiled 216 yards on 45 attempts. Perhaps the most telling stat of the night was CPA’s effectiveness on third down, with the Lions converting 9-of-13 opportunities.
The CPA defense, meanwhile, was able to contain an explosive BGA offense that is led by senior quarterback Nick Semptimphelter, who has established himself as one of the premiere QBs in the state. Semptimphelter, a Bucknell commit, came into the night averaging 291 passing yards per game, but the CPA defense yielded just 84 yards through the air, with Semptimphelter completing 12-of-20 passes. The Lions came up with a pair of interceptions, including one in the end zone by Maverick Rodriguez on a tipped ball in the first quarter.
“Defensively, I felt like we did a great job against a veteran quarterback that no one has really been able to slow down this season,” said CPA coach Ingle Martin.
Martin said he was pleased with the determination his team showed while enduring the four-game losing streak, which included games against DII-AA No. 2-ranked Evangelical Christian, DII-AAA No. 4-ranked Ensworth, Class 6A power Independence and the No. 2-ranked Class 2A team in Florida, Champagnat Catholic.
“Our kids just kept moving forward,” Martin said. “They have continued to battle and just keep getting better every week.”
CPA dominated the time of possession in Friday’s game, controlling the football for more than 33 minutes. The trend started with CPA’s methodical drive on its first possession of the night, when the Lions engineered the massive 18-play march that spanned the first 10:23 of the game. The drive, which featured 17 rushing plays, was capped by Law’s two-yard run.
COOKEVILLE — The Christ Presbyterian Academy football team went big on Friday.
“When you have a drive like that, I think it can be heart-breaking for the other team,” said Reid. “(From the defense’s perspective), it’s tough to take when the other team is running the ball down your throats, and you can’t stop them. But I think the most important thing was that we kept BGA’s offense on the sidelines basically for the entire first quarter.”
CPA extended the lead to 14-0 on its final possession of the first half, when Law produced his second two-yard touchdown run on the final play of the first half. The touchdown was set up by a terrific catch by Rodriguez. Mac Seibert’s extra point sent the Lions to the locker room with a 14-0 lead.
Law struck again in the third quarter, this time with a 21-yard run with 5:01 left in the quarter. The Lions’ final TD of the night came when Law hooked up with Reid for the six-yard scoring pass with 8:00 to play in the game.
CPA visits Brentwood next Friday; BGA hosts East Nashville.
Christ Presbyterian Academy 28, Battle Ground Academy 0
BGA 0 0 0 0 — 0
CPA 7 7 7 7 — 28
1Q (1:31) — CPA: Cade Law 2 run (Mac Seibert kick)
2Q (11:34) — CPA: Law 2 run (Seibert kick)
3Q (5:01) — CPA: Law 21 run (Seibert kick)
4Q (8:00) — CPA: Reid 6 pass from Law (Seibert kick)
First downs: BGA 10, CPA 16
Rushing: BGA 16-58, CPA 45-216
Passing yards: BGA 84, CPA 53
Passes: BGA 12-20-2, CPA 5-8-0
Penalties: BGA 9-53, CPA 7-76
Fumbles/Lost: BGA 1/1, CPA 1/1
Punts-Ave: BGA 5-29.8, CPA 3-44
BGA — Kaleb Seay 7-33, Briston Bennett 4-37, Semptimphelter 3-(-11), Trice Gordon 1-2, Zach Flores 1-(-2); CPA — Cade Law 13-82, Tyler Reid 13-58, Will Hays 6-30, Grant Rinker 4-23, Andrew Whitely 6-21, Preston Slover 2-2, Jake Dyskra 1-0
BGA — Briston Bennett 2-10, Kaleb Seay 2-19, Garnett Hollis Jr. 2-12, Antonio Stevens 5-40, Jad Diab 1-3; CPA — Maverick Rodriguez 3-34, Hall Perdue 1-13, Tyler Reid 1-6
BGA — Nick Semptimphelter 12-20-2-0 — 84; CPA — Cade Law 5-8-0-1 — 53