At the start of the third quarter of Christ Presbyterian Academy’s first round playoff game against the Knox Webb Spartans, Lions wide receiver Maverick Rodriguez asked to go into the game on defense.

The junior wideout noticed throughout the game that the Spartans liked to run wheel routes and ended up making a leaping interception when Knox Webb tried to run that very same play.

Two plays later, Rodriguez was on the receiving end of a 23-yard touchdown pass from Lions quarterback Cade Law.

That sequence was the final blow in a 35-0 shutout victory for the defending D-II AA state champion CPA Lions (5-6) over Knox Webb (3-7), and served as the perfect in-game metaphor for CPA’s dominance on both sides of the football.

“This is a really big win for us,” Rodriguez said. “We started off slow this season, but we won the games that mattered to get us here and this win really gives us confidence moving forward.”  

On offense, the Lions offense had no trouble getting off to a hot start despite temperatures hovering in the low 40s at kickoff and dropping as the game went deeper into the night.

Junior running back Tyler Reed capped off CPA’s opening drive with a 13-yard rushing touchdown to give the Lions the early lead, and things kept rolling for CPA from there.

Not long after wide receiver Reid Williford made a basket catch to complete a 43-yard touchdown pass from Cade Law, Reed found the end zone again—this time with a 16-yard rushing score—with just five seconds left in the first quarter to give the CPA a 21-0 lead.  

“Getting off to that fast start was huge,” Lions Head Coach Ingle Martin said. “This time of the year, it’s all about execution—and tonight we did. Now we get to keep playing football next week.”

On defense, CPA made several big stops that killed several promising Knox Webb drives and kept the Spartans off the scoreboard.

On the Spartans’ opening drive, the CPA defense stuffed Knox Webb running back Grissim Anderson at the line of scrimmage on a 4th-and-1 in Lions territory for a turnover on downs that seemed to set the tone for the entire game.

With around six minutes in the second quarter, trailing by three scores, Knox Webb marched down to the CPA two-yard line and looked like they were about to get their first points of the night.

But Lions defensive lineman George Collier stripped the ball from Spartans running back Garrett Carnathan and CPA recovered after defensive back Sam Ellis pounced on the loose football. That was the closest the Spartans would get to reaching the end zone. 

Law then marched the Lions down the field and capped off a scoring drive with a 23-yard to running back King Henderson with less than two minutes left in the second quarter to send CPA into the half with a comfortable 28-0 lead. 

Law finished the game with 268 passing yards and three touchdown passes on 9-of-15 passing.

CPA’s stingy defense, meanwhile, held Knox Webb to just 143 yards of total offense and forced two costly Spartan turnovers.

Now the Lions advance to the D-II AA state quarterfinals, where they will take on Chattanooga Christian at home on Friday, Nov. 15.