PHOTO: CPA senior Jacob Stopkotte (77) celebrates a goal-line stand against Lausanne in the fourth quarter on November 16, 2o18.
STORY AND PHOTOS BY RUSSELL VANNOZZI
Lausanne entered Friday night’s TSSAA DII-AA state semifinal against CPA on a 38-game winning streak.
CPA (13-0) wasn’t about to let that continue on its home turf, even if most of the grass at the Lion’s Den had turned into mud.
“We’d love to have an indoor turf stadium, but that’s not what we have,” CPA coach Ingle Martin said. “It seems like every game we’ve played this last month has been wet. This is what our kids are used to.”
Thanks to a fast start that included two first-quarter touchdowns, the Lions were able to hang on for a 21-14 victory to end Lausanne’s season and advance to the DII-AA state championship game.
CPA senior and Clemson commit Kane Patterson made his presence felt on both sides of the ball.
He opened the scoring with a 13-yard touchdown run in the first quarter and finished with 84 rushing yards on 14 carries. The linebacker also had seven tackles and played a key role in slowing down Lausanne (11-1) tailback Eric Gray.
“Our goal was to keep [Gray] off balance and not [allow] him to know what we were going to on defense,” Patterson said. “We changed things up a lot and Coach Taylor did a great job studying and [he] knew exactly what plays to call.”
Gray, a Michigan commit, still managed 147 yards and a touchdown, but he didn’t have a rush of more than 17 yards. The four-star prospect entered Friday’s game averaging 215 yards and 3.5 touchdowns per contest.
“You can’t prepare for him,” Martin said of Gray. “We told our guys all week that not one guy is going to take him down, it’s going to have to be a bunch of [tacklers]. [He] may be the best running back to ever play in Tennessee.”
CPA outrushed Lausanne 246-208, and senior RB Andrew Madden led the Lions with 135 yards on 22 carries. He also ran for what proved to the game-winning touchdown on a 16-yard scamper with 4:22 left in the third quarter.
The sloppy field conditions weren’t conducive to the passing game, although CPA QB Ryan Eledge did throw a 29-yard score to Noah Henderson in the first quarter.
“It looks like a war zone out here,” Patterson said of the field surface.
Lausanne’s other points came on a 35-yard touchdown pass from Sky Forest to Cameron Sims with 2:34 left in the game, but CPA recovered the ensuing onside kick.
“Crazy night…I’m just super happy,” Patterson said. “The team has worked their butts off to get here and it’s awesome to come out on top.”
The last team standing between CPA and a state championship is nearby Battle Ground Academy, which thumped Franklin Road Academy 50-7 in its semifinal matchup. CPA took a 31-20 road victory at BGA on Sept. 14.
“In tournament time, it doesn’t matter what you did, especially when they’re in your league,” Martin said. “It’s hard to beat people twice. We’ll prepare and have an opportunity to play a really good team.”
The DII-AA state championship will be played Friday, Nov. 30 at Tennessee Tech’s Tucker Stadium. Kickoff is set for 3:00 p.m., and tickets can be purchased through the TSSSAA ticket portal.