After a couple explosive plays early, Friday’s Division II-AA quarterfinal at Evangelical Christian School turned into a gritty showdown Friday.
The home-standing Eagles held off Battle Ground Academy and former coach Jonas Rodriguez 13-9 to end BGA’s season and advance to the state semifinals.
A late Wildcats drive was stopped at the ECS 7-yard line with 2:37 to play when the home team held on 4th-and-5. The Eagles took an intentional safety with 1:30 to play shortly afterward and hung on the rest of the way.
BGA out-gained the top-ranked Eagles 317-202, but lost two fumbles and threw an interception.
Senior quarterback Nick Semptimphelter, a Mr. Football semifinalist, tossed a 43-yard touchdown pass to Antonio Stevens on the second play of the game for BGA, but the home team answered immediately.
After a big return, Matthew McMeans took a handoff 41 yards for the touchdown to square the game at 7-7 where it stayed until late in the third quarter despite the explosive start.
ECS used a pair of field goals from Evan Stookey to take the lead. He connected on a 26-yarder with 2:53 left in the third quarter and was good from 33 with 8:18 to play.
The Eagles drained just over nine minutes of the third with a lengthy drive and BGA fumbled the kickoff. The Wildcats didn’t have a play in the third quarter and took over for their first drive of the second half after Stookey’s second field foal with 8:18 remaining.
Semtimphelter completed 19-of-28 passes for 217 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Stevens closed with three catches for 59 yards and the score and Jorian Cantrell had three grabs for 55 yards.
McMeans led ECS, which improved to 11-1 overall, with 151 yards on 30 carries.
Rodriguez, who was hired by BGA in April, guided ECS to back-to-back playoff appearance in 2017 and 2018. The Eagles reached the semifinals for the first time since 2014. They will face Lausanne, 42-21 winners over Franklin Road Academy.
BGA ends the season 8-4 overall, missing out on a third consecutive trip to the state semifinals.
Evangelical Christian School 13, Battle Ground Academy 9, Division II-AA Quarterfinals
BGA – 7 0 0 2 – 9
ECS – 7 0 3 3 – 13
1Q 10:29 B – Antonio Stevens 43 pass from Nick Semptimphelter (Jack Sauder kick);
1Q 9:01 E – Matthew McMeans 41 run (Evan Stookey kick);
3Q 2:53 E – Stookey 26 FG;
4Q 8:18 E – Stookey 33 FG;
4Q 1:30 B – safety.
Christ Presbyterian Academy 35, Chattanooga Christian 14, DII-AA quarterfinal
The Lions won their fourth game in a row as quarterback Cade Law scored four touchdowns to lead CPA back into the DII-AA semifinals.
The defending champs will battle Middle Region foe Lipscomb Academy next week with a championship berth up for grabs.
Law threw a 45-yard touchdown pass to Bryson Tayes, a 4-yarder to Josh Roper and a 72-yard strike to Maverick Rodriguez. The sophomore added a game-opening 13-yard rushing score.
Law completed 7-of-9 passes for 176 yards and also rushed for more than 50 yards on the night. His 4-yard TD pass to Roper gave the host Lions a 21-0 lead at the half.
In the third quarter, both teams traded big plays when Andrew Whitely made it 35-0 with a 64-yard scoring run. Chattanooga Christian got on the board by returning a kickoff more than 90 yards.
Lipscomb Academy defeated Grace Christian of Knoxville 45-21 Friday to earn a semifinal trip. The Mustangs will travel to CPA next week where they fell 28-7 on Oct. 4.