PLAYOFF PREVIEWS: CPA Challenges Unbeaten Stratford; Fairview Duels Goodpasture

PLAYOFF PREVIEWS: CPA Challenges Unbeaten Stratford; Fairview Duels Goodpasture

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The Christ Presbyterian Academy Lions hope to carry momentum into their rematch against Stratford in the second round of the Class 3A playoffs, while Fairview takes on Goodpasture.

See below for a closer look at those matchups:

Christ Presbyterian Academy (5-6) at Stratford (11-0), 7 p.m. Friday

The Christ Presbyterian Academy Lions roll into their second-round matchup with payback on their minds.

On Friday, they will meet the undefeated Stratford Spartans, the team who beat CPA 7-6 on Sept. 30 to end the Lions’ five-year league winning streak.

In that game, Stratford scored a touchdown in the first quarter before CPA’s defense shut down the Spartan offense for the rest of the game. Lions running back James Deaton scored on a 5-yard run in the fourth quarter, but a failed PAT gave Stratford the win.

Starting with that contest, CPA has looked much better than it did to start the season. The Lions are 4-2 in their last six games, and their two losses, the first of which was the Stratford matchup, were decided by a combined four points.

A better offensive attack has been the reason for the turnaround for CPA. After averaging just 8 points per game over their first six contests, the Lions have responded by putting up 38.6 points per game over their last five behind Deaton (869 rushing yards, eight total TDs) and quarterback Ryan Eledge (1,416 passing yards, 15 TDs).

They will have to bring the offense they’ve seen in the last half of the season against Stratford. The Spartans have shut out three opponents this season and are giving up just 8.6 points per game to opponents.

CPA’s defense will also have to come out ready to play. The Spartans may have struggled to score the first time the teams matched up, but after averaging 33 points per game over the season, it’s hard to imagine them only scoring once, again.

Sophomore Kane Patterson (54 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, four sacks) leads the Lions’ defense

The winner of Friday’s contest will move on to the state Class 3A quarterfinals, where the winner of Fairview and Goodpasture will await.

Goodpasture (9-2) at Fairview (11-0), 7 p.m. Friday

The Goodpasture Christian Cougars will travel to Fairview with hopes of ending the Yellowjackets’ undefeated season Friday.

The Class 3A second-round matchup will feature two teams built around running the football.

Fairview senior Jake Beathard leads the Yellowjackets in that category. He’s rushed for 1,186 yards and has scored 20 total (18 rushing) touchdowns this season.

For Goodpasture, senior Jermaine Mason and sophomore Julius Elders have split carries this season. Mason has been the more-effective back and has been the Cougars’ offensive focal point. He’s racked up 1,352 all-purpose yards (878 rushing, 474 receiving, 293 kick return and 363 punt return) and has scored 21 total touchdowns.

Since both defenses will likely be keying in on the opposing team’s running backs, it could come down to which quarterback can make more plays for his offense.

Fairview’s Kam Harris-Lusk has thrown for 1,430 yards and 10 TDs this season, while Goodpasture’s Dylan Brooks has 1,238 yards and 12 touchdowns through the air.

The road won’t get any easier for the winning team after Friday. They will then advance to the quarterfinals, where the winner of Christ Presbyterian Academy – last year’s state runner up – and undefeated Stratford – Region 5-3A’s top seed – will be waiting.

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