FRANKLIN, Tenn.—Battle Ground Academy quarterback Drew Martin threw for five touchdown passes, three to wide receiver Olle Reese, as the Wildcats routed Franklin Road Academy 38-0 on Thursday evening.
Running back Tiy Reed also caught a pair of scores from Martin, who played just 2 1/2 quarters due to the Wildcats building a big lead.
Martin completed 18-of-24 throws for 225 yards. Reese had five catches for 141 yards for the Wildcats.
The Wildcat defense was also terrific. Linebacker Chico Bennett (7 1/2 tackles, 3 1/2 stops for loss, and a fumble recovery) was a nightmare for FRA to block, and sophomore cornerback Garnett Hollins, who already has an offer from Vanderbilt, spent the evening locking down his man.
BGA is now 8-1, while FRA falls to 3-5.
“A team as talented as (FRA is), for our kids to come out and play the way we did, I was really pleased,” BGA coach Roc Batten said. “I thought we came out with great energy to start the game and were able to finish it.
“I was really proud of that defense. To hold (FRA), who’s been putting up 30, 40 points a game–especially the last four or five weeks–that was a huge feat.”
It was an all-around tough night for FRA.
Quarterback Eric Stoxstill-Diggs, who’s played through an arm stinger for much of the year, was forced from the game late in the first quarter after a hit aggravated that injury. Sophomore Sean Casey replaced him behind center in the second half.
Containing Stoxstill-Diggs, who’s put up big numbers as both a runner and a passer, was a primary concern for Batten. The Wildcats did a good job of that, but a number of bad snaps from center also didn’t help the Panthers.
“We wanted to get in his face. He’s a talented kid,” Batten said. “We wanted to get in his face and really close the pocket down for him, not let him escape, come at him in different ways–we tried outside pressure and inside pressure.”
Nor did BGA allow much to the Panthers’ star receiver, Lance Wilhoite.
“Our linebackers made some big plays,” Batten said. “So did our corners and our secondary. The key was not letting them get behind us and I’ve got two really corners,” he said.
Batten also singled out defensive backs Conner Mitchell (4 1/2 tackles) and Briston Bennett for solid play.
Leading by 31 at half, Battle Ground Academy picked up where it left off. Martin spotted Reese wide open down the right hash and hit him with a 46-yard bomb for a touchdown.
The Wildcats mostly used reserves to finish the evening from that point on.
Martin found Reed with an 11-yard scoring toss at the 4:13 mark of the first quarter, capping an 11-play, 70-yard drive.
BGA’s Trace Adams recovered the ensuring onside kick at the FRA 46. On a fourth-and-7 from the 27, Martin found Reese open in the right flat, and Reese weaved down the sideline for a score. Kicker Jack Souder’s point-after made it 14-0.
The Panthers found it tough to get anything going offensively, then, BGA’s Antonio Stevens blocked a punt and recovered it at the FRA 15 with 9:05 left in the second quarter.
On a third-and-11 from the BGA 16, the Wildcats left Reed wide open, and Martin had an easy throw for a touchdown.
The Panthers’ next drive approached midfield, but Battle Ground Academy cornerback Kel Hawkins picked off a tipped Stoxstill-Diggs throw to end that.
It was one of two interceptions on the evening for Hawkins.
Again, FRA blew a coverage on the Wildcats next drive, leaving Reese open for a 50-yard scoring strike moments later with 6:41 left before halftime.
Battle Ground Academy threatened to add a touchdown in the half’s final minute, but a J Ross sack of Martin, followed by a bad snap on a play that Strohn Johnson ended in a tackle for loss, wrecked the drive.
Even then, the Wildcats salvaged that possession when Souder hit a 40-yard field goal on the half’s last play for a 31-0 lead.
FRA’s two-way star Wilhoite had a second-half interception.
Tymon Mitchell, the Panthers’ star defensive lineman, had a good game in defeat.
“He’s (a headache to block). He’s a big man. But we’ve played several teams with big, aggressive linemen, and I’m going to be honest, every team’s going to be bigger than us,” Batten said. “We play with a lot of heart and a lot of passion.”
BGA is off next week before ending the regular season at Lipscomb Academy on Oct. 27.
FRA plays at Hickman County on the 20th.