Lipscomb Academy defeated Christ Presbyterian Academy 43-21 on Friday night at CPA in a rematch of the 2021 Division II-AA state championship game, and the two rivals brought a high level of energy from the opening play, quite literally.
Lions star receiver London Humphreys returned the opening kickoff 96 yards to the house to give CPA (4-5, 2-2) an early 7-0 lead. The first quarter continued to supply highlights.
After Lipscomb Academy (9-0, 4-0) turned it over on downs on their first drive and CPA responded with a punt of their own, it became a turnover fest. First, CPA recovered a Mustang fumble. On the next possession, LA recovered a fumble on a bad CPA snap. On the very next play, CPA recovered another LA fumble on a misplayed halfback toss.
The third turnover set CPA up for a five-yard rushing touchdown from junior Crews Law to give the Lions a 14-0 first quarter lead over the Mustangs, who entered the night on a 16-game winning streak.
Liberty commit Hank Brown connected with senior Dylan Wroblewski for a 19-yard touchdown early in the second quarter to get the Mustangs on the scoreboard for the first time.
Humphreys, a three-time state champion in track and field earlier this year, showed off his blazing speed by returning another touchdown on the ensuing kickoff, this time going for 93 yards. CPA led 21-7 with over half the second quarter still to play.
"He's one of the best athletes in the country and it showed tonight," CPA head coach Ingle Martin said.
Brown and Wroblewski connected again with a 12-yard score with just over two minutes to go until halftime. LA would miss the extra point, and the 21-13 score would hold until the break.
It would be the last time CPA held the lead as the Mustangs came out of the break on a mission. First came a 36-yard field goal from senior linebacker Hunter High less than three minutes into the third quarter.
In the next six minutes, Brown would toss a pair of touchdowns - a 14-yard dart to Tennessee commit Nate Spillman and a 58-yard bomb to Vanderbilt commit Junior Sherrill. After the onslaught of points LA led 29-21 heading into the fourth.
The first play of the final quarter could have been a game changer for either team. Lipscomb Academy cornerback Kaleb Beasley, who committed to Tennessee live on the field after the game, intercepted a pass and attempted to make a big return. Beasley fumbled the ball and CPA had two chances to recover it, but eventually LA's Edwin Spillman fell on it.
The Mustangs would go on to finish things off with two more scores. Brown and junior Dillon Lorick linked up for a 56-yard touchdown to go up 36-21 forty seconds in the frame. Then sophomore Andrew Patterson Jr. ran in the final score from two yards out.
"I think we came out, played well," Martin said. "Obviously the two kick returns were huge for us. Momentum stayed on our side. We just have to answer. The defense fought, the seniors led, they did everything we asked them to do."
Brown finished 34-42 for 464 yards, five touchdowns, and zero interceptions. Sherrill caught 13 passes for 152 yards and the score, Lorick had eight for 148 and his score, Spillman notched five for 75 and a touchdown, and Wroblewski compiled four for 64 with his two scores.
Edwin Spillman had 11 tackles, including two for a loss, and the major fumble recovery.
Streeter went 7-17 for 52 yards and the interception for CPA. Law was big on both ends, rushing for a touchdown on offense and compiling 7.5 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, and a sack on defense.
CPA will host Davidson Academy for next week's regular season finale, while LA will travel to BGA.
"District game, region game, whatever you call it now - we want to win them," Martin said. "They help us in November, obviously. We didn't tonight, and we've got to regroup and come back ready for next week. Davidson Academy's a good football team."