NASHVILLE — The season is not even half complete, but the Christ Presbyterian Academy football team has already put together a noteworthy body of work.
The most recent entry on the list — a 24-10 victory over Montgomery Bell Academy on Friday night — might be the most impressive yet.
Quarterback Cade Law had three one-yard touchdown runs, Langston Patterson had another big night on both sides of the ball and Bo Burklow came up with a pair of pivotal interceptions to help the defending state champion Lions earn the win in a rare matchup between the tradition-rich programs.
“(This was) the most complete game we’ve played this year, I feel like,” said Law, who completed 12-of-20 passes for 158 yards. “We played really hard tonight. The defense played awesome, the o-line, the receivers. Props to MBA — they’re a great team — but we just played a little better tonight.”
Patterson rushed for 75 yards on 14 carries, and Reid Williford had three catches for 62 yards for the Lions. For MBA, highly-recruited quarterback Marcel Reed finished 12-of-23 for 154 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions.
The game carried extra significance for CPA head coach Ingle Martin, who was a star quarterback at MBA in the late 1990s and led the team to three state titles and a 32-game winning streak. But the CPA players said Martin didn’t seem nostalgic while preparing for the game.
“Everybody knew that coach really wanted to win this game — but he didn’t show it all,” said Burklow, who sealed the outcome with his second interception late in the fourth quarter. “(Coach Martin) treated it like a normal game. And so, we just came out and handled our business. That’s what we do.”
Indeed, the Lions have proven that to be true in the opening month of the season while facing an alphabet soup of opponents. In the past three weeks, they’ve knocked off three programs that are often referred to by their recognizable acronyms — BA, BGA and now, MBA.
Those three teams (Brentwood Academy, Battle Ground Academy and Montgomery Bell Academy) are all steeped in tradition, but, of course, the Lions are, too. They’ve advanced to the state championship game in each of the past three seasons.
As for Martin, he said Friday’s game wasn’t a trip down memory lane. He said he was focused on having his team ready to face another quality opponent.
“More than anything, it’s just about (MBA) being a really good high school program,” he said. “MBA has been great for over 100 years. They are a group that’s done it the right way. Obviously, I am partial about that, but Coach (Marty) Euverard has kept that tradition alive. I told him before the game — he makes all of us alums very proud.”
CPA raced out to a 17-0 lead in the first half, and then held off a second-half MBA comeback bid by using a time-consuming drive — which chewed up more than seven minutes of the clock in the fourth quarter — to score a game-sealing TD with 4:06 remaining.
Burklow punctuated the victory with a highlight-reel interception on MBA’s final drive. He made a one-handed stab on a pass that seemed to already be past him.
“I dropped into coverage, and I knew the receiver was behind me, so I was ready for it and I was just able to snag it,” said Burklow, who then added: “God is great.”
The Lions set the tone for the first half on their opening possession by mounting a 10-play, 69-yard scoring drive. Patterson did the bulk of the work — with seven carries for 40 yards — before Law capped the possession with a one-yard sneak.
Late in the first quarter, MBA moved deep into CPA territory, but the drive ended when Burklow came up with an interception at the 11-yard line, and returned it 30 yards. The Lions capitalized with a quick five-play scoring drive that led to Law’s second one-yard TD run of the game on the opening play of the second quarter. The drive was keyed by a 41-yard completion from Law to London Humphreys, who finished with a team-high four catches.
CPA extended the lead to 17-0 on the final play of the first half when Ryan Rinker made a 38-yard field goal.
But MBA wasn’t done.
The Big Red scored a touchdown on their second possession of the second half when Reed hooked up with Claiborne Richa on a 35-yard touchdown pass.
Moments later, following a CPA fumble, the Big Red had first-and-goal at the Lions’ seven-yard line. But the CPA defense stiffened — with George Collier delivering a crucial sack of Reed on second down — and forced MBA to settle for a field goal. Wren Jacobs connected on the 26-yard attempt, and MBA pulled within 17-10 with 11:15 remaining in the game.
But CPA’s offense answered with an impressive drive, marching 80 yards in 13 plays. Law capped the drive with another one-yard sneak on a fourth-down play with 4:06 left.
Law said his short-yardage success was based on a pretty simple formula.
“I’m just following (number) 10,” said Law. “I am following Langston. Wherever he goes, that’s where I am going. I know he’s going to make a big block, and I am just going to follow him into the end zone.”
Law made a series of clutch throws throughout the course of the game, including completing four straight passes — three of which went to Williford — on the Lions’ game-clinching touchdown drive.
“Cade made a lot of big plays tonight, and he’s done that since he’s been here,” said Martin. “We put the ball in his hands we need a big play — and Cade usually makes one.”
Christ Presbyterian Academy 24, Montgomery Bell Academy 10
MBA 0 0 7 3 — 10
CPA 7 10 0 7 — 24
1Q 7:47 C – Cade Law 1 run (Ryan Rinker kick);
2Q 11:30 C – Law 1 run (Rinker kick);
2Q 0:00 C – Rinker 38 FG;
3Q 6:04 M – Claiborne Richa 34 pass from Marcel Reed (Wren Jacobs kick);
4Q 4:06 C – Law 1 run (Rinker kick).
First Downs — MBA 15, CPA 15
Rushing Att/Yards — MBA 29-99, CPA 39-109
Passing Yards — MBA 154, CPA 158
Penalties — MBA 2-22, CPA 7-59
MBA — Johnothan Moore 6-35; Rhett Hayles 10-33; Marcel Reed 13-31. CPA — Langston Patterson 14-74; Cade Law 18-37; Dawson Marrero 4-1; Tripp Lodge 3-(-3).
MBA — Marcel Reed 12-23-3-1 — 154. CPA — Cade Law 12-20-0-0 — 158.
MBA — Claiborne Richa 5-96; Jack Spellman 2-16; Rhett Hayles 2-3; Hutton Durrett 1-23; Ty Burd 1-18; Blake Ragsdale 1-(-2). CPA — London Humphreys 4-33; Reid Williford 3-62; Anderson Kail 3-29; Carter Cain 1-22; Bo Burklow 1-12.