The Christ Presbyterian Academy Lions hadn’t played a game in two weeks due to COVID-19-related issues.
But Thursday night in Brentwood, CPA looked like a team in mid-season form as the Lions edged the Ravenwood Raptors for a 31-23 win.
The Lions are a grind-it-out, run-it-down-your-throat kind of team, as is evidenced by their 174.7 yards per game rushing average entering Thursday. CPA had three ground scores from Langston Patterson, who finished with 112 yards rushing, and one from Tyler Reid as the Lions ground game was too much for the Raptors to contain.
“Our offensive line (makes the run game so effective),” CPA quarterback Cade Law said. “Coach (Steve) Haywood and coach (Leroy) Harris, they do a great job teaching our linemen what to do and our backs are just so explosive. They hit the hole hard and they’re there to hit people, not take hits.”
Added CPA coach Ingle Martin: “I think we’ve got a group of guys coaching the offensive line – coach Harris and Haywood – they really bring an attitude that is the heart of our offense. We want to control the line of scrimmage and run the ball. People have to adjust off of that. Tonight, we were able to do that. We had a bunch of yards after contact. That line will continue to get better.”
It looked like it would be a shootout early in the first quarter after CPA drove down the field and took an early 7-0 lead on a Patterson 32-yard touchdown run 3:46 into the game.
But Ravenwood only needed one play to answer, tying it up on a 45-yard Trevor Andrews touchdown strike to Jake Briningstool 20 seconds later. But then, things slowed down.
CPA began to put together long drives and methodically work the clock with its stable of running backs – Patterson, Tyler Reid and Will Hays – plus Law, who is a dual-threat under center.
Patterson added his second rushing touchdown late in the second quarter before Andrews drove Ravenwood down the field for an Alec Delperdang 39-yard field goal to pull within 14-10 at the break.
CPA and Ravenwood traded touchdown drives to start the third quarter with Reid cashing in from the 3 for the Lions and Tre Thomas punching it in for Ravenwood from 9 yards out.
Then, the CPA run game went back to work, milking the clock with long, meticulous drives, converting on third and fourth down to wear down the Raptor defense.
“I think in the second half, being able to control the clock and convert some of those fourth downs and third-and-shorts was huge,” Martin said. “Cade making passes on fourth downs and keeping drives alive was also huge for us.”
Patterson punched in his third TD of the game midway through the fourth quarter, but Ravenwood responded with an Andrews TD strike to Briningstool in the corner of the end zone on a fourth-and-5 to pull within 28-23 after a failed 2-point conversion. CPA added a late field goal before Ravenwood turned the ball over on downs in the final minute.
“Ravenwood has a bunch of really good players,” Martin said. “(Briningstool) is as good a player as we’ve played against since I’ve been here. Coach Daniels and his staff do an amazing job, so that was a great win.”
“We always use our non-region games to get better and work on stuff that we need to work on,” Law added. “Our offensive line did great, our receivers did great and our defense was unreal. I felt like we got a lot better.”
Ravenwood falls to 4-4 with a 3-1 record in Region 6-6A. The Raptors have faced a murderer’s row of opponents over since mid-September with losses to Pulaski Academy, Brentwood, national No. 1 IMG Academy and now CPA.
Ravenwood has non-region contests against Smyrna and Cane Ridge the next two weeks before closing out the year with a region battle at Independence.
CPA improves to 5-1 with a 1-0 mark in the Division II-AA Middle Region. The Lions close out the year with three straight region contests against Goodpasture (6-1, 2-1), Lipscomb Academy (5-2, 2-0) and Franklin Road Academy (1-3, 0-2).
“We told the team this was our last preseason game and now we’re into the heart of our season here,” Martin said. “Everything matters from here on out and we’re excited about that.”