STORY BY LOGAN BUTTS | PHOTOS BY ANDY COLLIGNON
Two undefeated teams entered Guffee-Brown Stadium on Friday night, but only one left that way.
The Christ Presbyterian Academy Lions kept their perfect record in tact with a 31-20 win over district rival Battle Ground Academy.
CPA (5-0) road a 17-point second quarter offensive explosion to victory over the Wildcats of BGA (4-1). While the Lions did not trail throughout the game, the win was still hard-fought.
“That was a Final Four football team. They went to the Final Four just like we did last year,” CPA head coach Ingle Martin said.
“They know how to play. Roc Batten is one of the best coaches in Middle Tennessee, and he’s got a really good staff of guys that put a good plan together. When you play them, you know you’re going to get their best.”
BGA came out strong offense. Junior quarterback Nick Semptimphelter hooked up with fellow junior Garnett Hollis for the first touchdown of the night midway through the first quarter.
CPA answered on the very next drive as senior Andrew Madden punched it in the end zone.
The score started a 21-0 run for the Lions. Senior Ryan Eledge tossed a fade to fellow senior Noah Henderson in the back of the end zone to give CPA a 14-7 lead early in the second.
After senior John Ritchie picked off Semptimphelter deep into a BGA drive, Eledge combined with Henderson again to move the Lions down to the five yard line. Eledge then ran it in himself to put CPA ahead 21-7.
Semptimphelter tossed a 66-yard bomb to senior Tiy Reed late in the second quarter to bring the Wildcats within seven at 21-14, but Ritchie came up with his second big play of the quarter as he knocked in a 28-yard field goal to send CPA into halftime ahead 24-14.
“I thought we didn’t execute as well as we should have,” Semptimphelter said. “CPA’s a really disciplined team, and hopefully we’ll see them in the postseason.”
Semptimphelter went 22-31 with 261 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception. Reed collected 110 total yards and a score.
The third quarter was a mini defensive battle as the two teams combined for three red zone stands in total.
BGA’s Chico Bennett came through with a pair of big plays on opposite sides of the ball for in the third. The Georgia Tech commit notched a huge sack to force a turnover on downs and followed that with a fourth-down conversion catch of his own on the ensuing drive.
BGA settled for a field goal from Jack Sauder, cutting the Lions’ lead to 24-17.
Eledge completed an unlikely 4th-and-17 to Henderson at the end of the third, but BGA’s defense held strong in the red zone once again.
Eledge finished 12-17 for 183 yards and a touchdown through the air and added a score on the ground. Henderson hauled in 6 catches for 130 yards and a score.
Sauder blasted a 42-yard field goal with 8:46 left in the final frame, making the score 24-20 as the Wildcats inched closer to CPA’s lead.
But CPA’s ground attack was too much as senior Clemson commit Kane Patterson continued to picked up first downs.
Senior Saw West sealed the win with a short scamper into the end zone with just under four minutes left.
“That was a big one for us,” Patterson said. “They’re a very good team in our district. That’s an exciting win for us because that means we may get more games in the Den in November.”
West ran for 86 yards and a score, Madden notched 115 yards and a touchdown, and Patterson compiled nine carries for 46 yards.
CPA will take on Hillsboro at home next week, while BGA will travel to Evangelical Christian in Cordova.
“I thought we played a really bad half of football in the first half,” BGA head coach Roc Batten said.
“The team you saw in the second half, that’s the defensive team I expect. Am I disappointed? Yes, but there’s some things off of this that we’ll build from.”
Below is a slideshow of photos from Andy Collignon.