COOKEVILLE, Tenn.—Christ Presbyterian rushed for 356 yards, as the Lions beat Battle Ground Academy, 41-21, to win the TSSAA Division II Class AA state title at Tennessee Tech’s Tucker Stadium on Friday afternoon.
CPA had 508 yards of total offense to the Wildcats’ 395. CPA running backs Andrew Madden (20 carries, 135 yards) and Kane Patterson (13-110, two touchdowns) led the way.
Patterson, a senior, was named the game’s MVP.
The Lions dominated the first half, leading 28-0 at the break, with 324 yards of total offense to BGA’s 112. Madden had 101 yards in the first half behind an offensive line that opened massive holes all evening.
CPA quarterback Ryan Eledge threw for 152 yards and three touchdowns on only 17 throws. Receiver Bryce McCormick caught three passes for 42 yards and two touchdowns.
Patterson and McNeill Stout led the defense with 10 and eight tackles, respectively. Patterson had one for loss, as did McCormick, who had six total stops.
The Lions capped off an unbeaten season (14-0) under coach Ingle Martin. BGA, under the guidance of Roc Batten, fell to 11-3.
Two-way star Chico Bennett led BGA on both sides. The senior caught six passes for 102 yards and a score, and had 14 total tackles. Battle Ground Academy quarterback Nick Semptimphelter was 21 of 34 passing for 277 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions, with running back Tiy Reed catching five balls for 120 yards and a touchdown.
This one was rarely in doubt
BGA finally got on the board when Reed caught a swing pass at the line of scrimmage from Semptimphelter and raced untouched for 84 yards. Kicker Jack Sauder’s point-after pulled the Wildcats within 21 with 6:32 left in the third quarter.
But the Lions answered with Patterson ran right through a big hole and broke an arm tackle around the BGA 5. Sebastian Stubblefield missed the point-after, making it 34-7 with 3:56 left in the third.
BGA scored again when Semptimphelter hit Garnett Hollis with a 7-yard pass, with Hollis tap-dancing just inside the front right pylon to collect the ball and get his feet in bounds.
After the Lions recovered an onside kick at the BGA 46, Andrew Whitely raced 40 yards two plays later for another score.
BGA’s Chico Bennett caught a swing pass and broke tackles down the left sideline for the game’s final touchdown with 2:06 left.
CPA stopped Briston Bennett at the Lion 41 on a fourth-down conversion on game’s first drive. Patterson later scored on a sweep around left tackle from 8 yards out with 4:25 left in the first quarter. Stubblefield made it 7-0 with the point after.
But after a BGA punt, Madden rumbled for 41 yards to the Wildcat 17. Eledge threw a perfect strike just in front of the front right pylon to McCormick for a score on the next play.
Semptimphelter then overthrew a receiver on a long throw downfield, which was picked off by Whitley. The Lions turned that into an 11-yard score from Eledge to McCormick.
With under 30 seconds in the half, CPA running back Tyler Reid ripped off a 22-yard run to the Wildcat 16, before Eledge hit an open Dean Cooper with one second left before the horn.
CPA’s John Michael Ritchie had a first-half interception, though the Lions couldn’t covert that into points.
The Lions also beat BGA by a 31-20 score on Sept. 14.
This and that
It was over when: BGA had finally generated some offensive momentum with Reed’s run. But Patterson stuck a dagger in the Wildcats’ hopes with his third-quarter scoring run. From there, the Lions simply were able to hold the ball on the ground for too long to give BGA enough possessions for a comeback.
Decisive matchups: CPA’s offensive line opened big holes against BGA’s front, which set the tone for the afternoon.
On defense, the Wildcats covered CPA wide receiver Noah Henderson with star corner Garnett Hollis, and also helped with a safety. Henderson caught one passes for 44 yards, but, this opened up things for other players on the Lions’ offense.
See you later, elsewhere: BGA’s Chico Bennett will play linebacker at Georgia Tech next year. Running back Jaylen Frierson is committed to East Tennessee State, while Reed is drawing interest from Georgetown and Yale.
CPA’s Patterson will play linebacker at Clemson next season, while Henderson, uncommitted, has drawn Division I interest.