Lipscomb Academy (8-2) and BGA (4-4) faced off tonight under the lights in a very important region matchup. Lipscomb was looking to win the district for the first time in a good while.
Jaden Lyles certainly took it upon himself to help his team secure the win as he had not one, not two, but three interceptions and a kickoff returned for a touchdown. The Mustangs went on to win in gritty fashion, 21-7.
“It’s a controversial move when you take an all-state running back and move him to safety,” said Lipscomb Academy coach Trent Dilfer. “We really felt like that giving him to grow in the position we would see an impact by mid-season and we are really seeing that. He’s come on as of late.
"It’s a selfless decision on his part, he’s never complained once. He’s bought into the safety thing, and I think he’s gonna be a division one safety.”
The first quarter was full of back-to-back three and outs from both teams like it was a game of hot potato out on the field. If you like defense, the first quarter was an amazing physical contest that ended tied at 0.
The second quarter was beginning to look that way as well until the Mustangs put together a long drive that ended with a 2-yard rushing touchdown from Alex Broome to give the Mustangs a 7-0 lead with seven minutes left before halftime.
BGA attempted to get down the field to match the score before halftime, but they were halted by Lyles. Lyles intercepted Wildcats quarterback Brett Brown twice before halftime to keep the lead at seven points.
Lipscomb got the ball to start off the second half and wasted very little time getting on the board from another Broome touchdown once again from inside the five to increase the Mustang lead to 14-0 with 8:33 left in the third quarter.
BGA looked up at the scoreboard and acknowledged that they were down by 14, but didn’t hang their heads and kept on fighting. The defense came up with a stop the very next Lipscomb Academy drive and forced a punt.
The Mustangs thought it would be a normal, routine punt for Andy Smith, but it would be blocked by the Wildcats and recovered in the endzone by cornerback Xavier Shaw with two minutes left in the third quarter.
Now the Wildcats got the lead down to seven, with the defense amped up as they just had to kick off to Lyles.
Lyles didn’t let the Wildcats have any of the momentum whatsoever, taking the ensuing kickoff 85 yards for the touchdown. With the momentum back on the Mustangs side, they would go into the fourth quarter with a 21-7 lead.
“He’s still getting his carries with kick returns and punt returns,” said Dilfer. “We’re really happy for him.”
The offensive fireworks died down as the defensive battle took place again in the fourth. BGA got the ball multiple times during the fourth quarter, but turned it over late in the game to Lyles once again for his third interception to secure the win for the Mustangs.
BGA reaches the playoffs as a four seed at Northpoint Christian next week.
They will finish as the fourth seed in the district.
“We’ve spent a good part of the year re-identifying ourselves and have continued to develop our identity as a team,” said BGA Coach Jonas Rodriguez.
“I think we are really starting to hone in on that right now. We’re going to continue to work on that as we progress into the playoffs and hopefully continue to build upon this momentum we’ve had in the latter part of the season.”
Lipscomb will go into the playoffs as the top seed in the district while looking to improve on their semifinal run last year. They host five-seed St. George's at home next Friday at 7 p.m.
“I think we gotta keep getting better,” said Dilfer. “I do feel like we kinda took a step back offensively. We’ve got a lot of work to do to get ready for this playoff run. I’m confident we will. We didn’t play very well offensively last year and then we really settled in during the playoffs.
"I think we’re close, but once we clean that up we have a lot of qualities offensively and we hope to get better as well as on special teams.”