BY CORY WOODROOF | PHOTO BY RUSSELL VANNOZZI
The Christ Presbyterian Academy Lions haven’t lost a game this season.
If Friday’s 3:00 p.m. D-II state title game at Tennessee Tech goes their way, not having lost stay that way for good.
The Lions are converging on perfection for a bout set with region opponent Battle Ground Academy. The team topped the Wildcats 31-20 in September and are considered the favorites to do so again.
When you think on what makes the Lions great, where do you start? The offense can score on anyone at any given moment; the defense is anchored by a blue chip linebacker in Kane Patterson and held that phenomenal Eric Gray Lausanne offense to 14 points.
Everything has gone the team’s way this season, and it might just stay on that path. They’re four quarters away from the high school football world’s greatest cherry on top for what’s been a stupendous sundae.
But about that Lausanne game. The Lynx were on a 38-game win streak heading into that semifinals game at the Lions’ Den, but the team was able to stop Gray, a Michigan commit, just enough to slow down one of the best offenses in the state.
Of course, for Lions head coach Ingle Martin, the win was a great moment, but he says his guys have eyes on a higher goal.
“Our kids will remember it, but they know that they were playing all year to play this last one,” Martin said. “They’re excited about playing this week, playing against a region opponent, a rival in BGA, playing in a big stage in the state championship.”
With Lausanne out of the way and BGA on the way, the team has a chance of completing a flawless 14- run. The Wildcats will be a tough competitor and could very well upset, but few teams are playing as good of football right now as the team at the corner of Brentwood and Forest Hills.
It’s been a journey for this team, having lost two-straight state semifinals, but the ticket is now punched for Cookeville.
For Martin, he knew this team was special when he began to see them navigate their treacherous schedule.
“The way our schedule is set up, every week could’ve been the week that you could’ve gotten beat,” Martin said. “This group’s come a long way…I think our kids rose to the occasion each week. They played hard, but the biggest thing is they continued to practice and continued to believe they could get better.
“We’ve had a mature team of 31 seniors, and they’ve handled it the right way. We’re certainly excited about Friday.”
Martin mentioned BGA’s growth over the last seven weeks since the team’s two-game skid in September.
“They’ve certainly gotten better, and it’ll be a great game,” the coach said. “That’s the state championship. Both teams are zero to zero; it doesn’t matter what happened last time. There are too many examples of what’s happened this year in the playoffs where teams won in the regular season and lost in the postseason.
“So we know anything can happen, and we just hope to play our style of football, play hard and have fun.”
As far as the preparation goes, this isn’t Martin and his staff’s first rodeo. They’ve done this three times throughout their run together.
“We’ve kind of got our routine, and feel good about it,” he explained. “We know where we’re dressing, we know what it’s like to kickoff at 3 o’clock, we know what the T.V. timeouts feel like. Anytime you can carry that kind of experience into a game like this, I think it helps. For the players, it’s all the same for them…we hope to make it as normal as possible for them.
“The biggest thing is them controlling their excitement and going out again and playing our style of football.”
Check back tomorrow morning for our second part of our CPA preview, featuring insight from the players.