The Lipscomb Academy varsity football team beat Christ Preparatory Academy 38-0 at the Lipscomb Academy Football Stadium Friday night.
Both teams came in with perfect district records and only one loss each on their resume. The one team to beat both sides going in was Oakland, the top-ranked team in the state of Tennessee across all divisions.
On a night with 16 penalties for 179 yards, 9 of which went against the Mustangs for 119 yards, the game was hard-fought but never particularly competitive.
Lipscomb won the offensive yardage battle by a whopping 472 to 156 yards. 250 of those yards came in the air for the Mustangs, supplemented by 222 yards rushing.
The top two teams in the Division II-AA Middle District met in a rematch of last year’s Division II state championship game, and this time around, it was the Mustangs who got the better of the Lions after CPA won the state title in 2020.
Lipscomb also came into the game with 10 consecutive wins at home over the course of two seasons, accruing 4 shutouts during that period.
Looking to stop that streak, the Lions received the opening kickoff and immediately struggled to build offensive momentum. An early punt on their first drive was followed up by another punt, and a 75-yard touchdown to tie the game was wiped off the board for an offensive penalty. To make matters worse, the visitors lost a fumble on their final drive of the first quarter.
In a continuing narrative from the entire season as well as last year, senior running back Alex Broome dominated the CPA defense throughout, scoring all five of the team’s touchdowns. Broome found the only score of the first quarter to go along with 36 yards from scrimmage in the first period, putting Lipscomb ahead 7-0.
The Mustangs were knocking on the door for touchdown number two as the second quarter started. All it took from just outside the red zone was a pair of Broome runs to give the transfer tailback his second score of the game.
Broome’s brightest moment of the first half, and perhaps the entire season, was a magisterial touchdown early in the second quarter. Broome outmaneuvered a defender on the left edge, cut back to the middle, and found a second gear to outrun two more defenders and find the right edge. Breaking a pair of tackles at the right sideline, Broome kept churning and ended up hitting paydirt for the third time in less than 30 minutes.
Broome, who is committed to play college football with Boston College next year, would go on to gather 118 yards from scrimmage to go with his three touchdowns in the first half.
“He’s played great,” head coach Trent Dilfer said of his star running back. “He’s the best player in the state in my opinion.”
Desperately needing a response on offense, CPA mounted a long drive on the ensuing possession, finding the red zone for the first time of the evening. The Lions relied on some costly Lipscomb penalties and a couple of successful scrambles from senior quarterback Cade Law. From 33 yards away, the away side could only settle for a field goal attempt that came up just short, leaving the score at 21-0 with 5:13 to go in the first half.
This time, Coach Dilfer dialed up a balanced offensive attack that took the rest of the first half off the clock. On a hail mary attempt at the end of the second quarter, junior quarterback Luther Richeeson delivered a 40-yard strike that came just two yards short of the team’s fourth touchdown of the game.
Even without the buzzer-beating score, though, Lipscomb still lead commandingly with a 21-0 advantage.
Coach Dilfer’s halftime analysis was a simple one: “I like our physicality, we’re knocking them down and knocking the ball loose,” the Super Bowl-winning former quarterback said. “We have a ton of respect for them, [and] we need to have the same intensity and not get complacent in the second half.”
CPA started the second half with an ambition they failed to show in the first half, getting a quick 3-and-out defensively and earning the ball back quickly. They marched down the field and made it to Lipscomb’s 30 yard line, but the drive stalled out on 4th down and 8, as Law couldn’t complete a pass to keep his team’s drive alive.
Broome immediately found his footing again, making an even bigger statement on the night with his fourth touchdown of the evening. He broke two tackles and his open-field running ability did the rest on a 64-yard touchdown run to make it 28-0 for the Mustangs.
While they were unable to find an answer on defense, CPA responded on offense with another decent drive. They worked their way to midfield, but did not manage to score and could only pin Lipscomb at their own ten yard line on a punt.
From there, Richeeson made a pair of big plays to help bring Lipscomb into Lions territory. Richeeson went 22-28 for 250 yards and 1 touchdown on the night, improving on an 83% completion percentage coming into the game.
A long-range strike from midfield to tight end Beau Dawson put the Mustangs inside the 10, where the third quarter would come to an end. To start the fourth, CPA defended their red zone well and forced Lipscomb into a field goal from kicker Grant Hyatt. That made the score 31-0 in Lipscomb’s favor and put a further nail in the coffin.
The Lions lost even more momentum on the next drive, making two big passing plays before coughing up the ball a third time in the game.
After their third turnover, Lipscomb returned the favor when Richeeson threw his first interception of the season on a deep ball to the left side of the end zone. Despite the gift of possession, the Lions were very much out of contention with less than 10 minutes remaining and a 31-point deficit.
The ensuing drive restored Lipscomb’s offensive onslaught, taking 2:30 off the game clock and ending with a fifth Broome score from 3 yards out. That made the score 38-0 for the Mustangs and put a running clock on for the remainder of the game.
In the end, Broome was responsible for all five touchdowns for his team and put up 215 yards rushing in the process. Dawson finished with 57 receiving yards, and wide receiver Coleman Baker added 4 catches for 61 yards.
On a night where he could have pointed to any number of positive things in the on-field performance from the Mustangs, Dilfer instead focused on the off-field progress his team has made.
“What I’m most proud of is these guys,” Dilfer said. “These kids have come together and done hard things and learned things. These are the finest kids I’ve ever been around.”
With the dominant win, the Mustangs improve to 9-1 on the year and grab their 5th shutout. They move to an outright lead in the district standings, now sporting a 4-0 record in the Division II-AA Middle District.
CPA, meanwhile, drops to 7-2 on the year and 3-1 in the division while being kept off the scoreboard for the first time since September 2019.
Lipscomb finishes out the regular season with another home game Friday at 7 pm against district opponents Battle Ground Academy, a matchup the Mustangs have won in two straight tries.
By: Danny Kotula
Republished from Lumination Network, Oct 23, 2021.