The last time Battle Ground Academy and Christ Presbyterian Academy faced off, some 42 weeks ago and 100 miles east, a state championship was on the line. Friday night, despite opposite records, expect the atmosphere to be the same when the Wildcats (4-0, 1-0) travel less than 10 miles north to face the Lions (0-4, 0-0) again.
CPA defeated the Wildcats twice last year and captured the title 41-21 in the Blue Cross Bowl, but the Lions graduated 31 seniors. BGA brought back the bulk of a team that finished runner-up.
COOKEVILLE — The Christ Presbyterian Academy football team went big on Friday.
Senior Nick Semptimphelter, a Bucknell University commitment, leads the Wildcats and, based on his first four games, is on track to throw for more than 3,500 yards. He’s already thrown for 16 touchdowns. Fellow seniors Antonio Stevens (19 receptions, 407 yards and 5 TDs) and Garnett Hollis, Jr. (14-348-7) have been his favorite targets, along with Briston Bennett (11-107-2).
CPA has struggled on the offensive side of the ball, an indication of graduation losses; the Lions have also fallen victim somewhat to their own philosophy of playing the strongest teams they can find outside their region. The Lions' losses have come to No. 2 Evangelical Christian in DII-AA, No. 4 Ensworth in DII-AAA, Class 6A power Independence and the No. 2 team in Class 2A in Florida, Champagnat Catholic.
Across Old Hickory Boulevard, Brentwood Academy (3-1, 0-1) hosts Father Ryan (1-3, 0-1) in a regional game. The Eagles had to come from behind to defeat visiting Whitehaven last week 17-14 and they did it without starting quarterback Wade Williams and running back Jordan James. Both missed the second half after being injured and their status for this week at press time was still uncertain.
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The Irish are coming off a disappointing emotional loss to Pope John Paul II, 28-17, which sends the Bishop’s Cup back to Sumner County for another year. Father Ryan opened with a strong win in Bowling Green in the Rafferty’s Bowl, but has struggled to get their feet back under them facing three straight ranked opponents in BGA and Baylor in addition to JPII.
Grace Christian Academy (0-4, 0-1) returns to regional action, hosting Mount Juliet Christian (1-3, 0-1) on Southall Road. The Lions are in full rebuilding mode in the program’s fifth season after making the playoffs for the first time two years ago. The Saints have made postseason play the last two years and defeated GCA in Franklin to open the season last year.