PHOTO: CPA running back Kane Patterson tries to power past an Independence defender on Friday, October 6, 2018.
STORY AND PHOTOS BY RUSSELL VANNOZZI
Friday’s matchup between CPA and Independence was destined to be full of offense.
The game came as advertised, but the Eagles made things difficult for CPA by cutting the Lion lead to just 5 points at the end of the third quarter in Nashville.
But thanks to a pair of fourth-down touchdown passes by Ryan Eledge in the final quarter, CPA pulled away for a 55-37 victory and kept its undefeated season intact.
“He’s been doing that for three years,” CPA coach Ingle Martin said of Eledge. “I’m really proud of him and the effort he’s given to improve each and every week.”
Martin rolled the dice on both plays, opting to let Eledge’s senior leadership take over. The gunslinger answered Martin’s call by tossing a 17-yard touchdown to Bryce McCormick with 11 minutes remaining and a four-yard score to Dean Cooper with three minutes left.
“Making them drive the ball was kind of on our minds,” Martin said. “We knew we had to get some points, and that if we didn’t score, [Independence] was probably going to come down and get some points.”
The Lions (8-0) amassed 548 yards of total offense, while Independence (3-4) finished with 368.
CPA tailbacks Andrew Madden (160 yards) Sam West (101) both eclipsed the century mark, and Clemson commit Kane Patterson (31) rushed for a pair of short touchdowns.
Eledge accounted for 4 total scores, including one rushing touchdown, and threw for 231 yards on 21-of-32 passing. He was matched by Eagle quarterback Ethan Cash, who finished with 286 passing yards and four touchdowns but threw three interceptions, including two that ended up in the hands of CPA senior Payne Trapnell.
“I just like to win; I don’t care how it happens,” Eledge said. “I was definitely a little nervous because [Independence] was on us all night.”
Independence wideouts Isaiah Collier (134 yards) and Purdue commit T.J. Sheffield (106) each had a pair of receiving touchdowns, and Collier returned the opening kick-off for a 92-yard score. But it wasn’t enough to overcome three turnovers against CPA’s normally stout defense.
“We’re not walking away [from] here feeling like losers,” Independence coach Scott Blade said. “We wanted to play a certain style of football. And our kids did exactly what we wanted, but we just came up a little bit short.”
Blade said he’s confident in Cash’s ability and plans to continue to use him as the team’s starter, leaving senior Idaho commit Nathan Cisco on the bench. Cisco was injured earlier in the season and effectively lost his job after Cash led the Eagles to back-to-back wins over Franklin and Brentwood last month.
“When [Cash] is on target, he’s pretty tough [to stop],” Blade said. “At this point, you have to go with who’s got the hot hand. Ethan’s doing just fine right now, but if something changes, we have another great QB ready to play.”
CPA will host Goodpasture (2-5) next week, while Independence returns home to face Dickson County (3-4). Both games kick-off at 7 p.m.