After clinching the Division II-AA Middle Region title on Oct. 23, Lipscomb Academy traveled to Franklin to finish the regular season on a high note against region foe Battle Ground Academy.
The Mustang defense dominated BGA for a 21-7 victory on Friday night. Lipscomb Academy (8-2) allowed just 280 total yards and forced four punts, while junior Jaden Lyles came up with three interceptions to go along with a kickoff return for a touchdown.
Lipscomb Academy’s defense has been strong during region play, giving up less than 10 points per game.
“We’re getting a lot of stops, and we turn the other team over often, so we have a lot confidence in our defense’s ability to stand up and get us the ball back,” Lipscomb Academy coach Trent Dilfer said.
On BGA’s first play from scrimmage, junior running back Sean Williams ripped off a 38-yard run into Mustang territory. But the Lipscomb Academy defense responded to keep the first quarter scoreless.
Lipscomb Academy began the second quarter with the ball on the 7-yard-line. With a mix of run and pass plays, the Mustangs drove the ball 93 yards for the only score of the first half. The possession was capped by a 2-yard run from tailback Alex Broome, who rushed for 131 yards and two scores on 24 carries.
However, the passing game looked out of sync as Luther Richesson completed 10 of his 20 attempts for just 79 yards.
“We’ve been really inconsistent throwing the football,” Dilfer said. “We have to get a little more consistent heading into the playoffs.”
Two of Lyles’s three interceptions came in the second quarter to preserve Lipscomb Academy’s 7-0 lead at the break. Broome opened the third quarter with a 5-yard touchdown run to extend the lead.
BGA got its only points by way of a blocked punt that was recovered for a touchdown by Xavier Shaw. On the ensuing kickoff, Lyles went 85 yards for a touchdown to make it 21-7 Lipscomb Academy with 1:40 left in the third quarter.
“Special teams has been our calling card,” Dilfer said. “For the last 10 games, our special teams has been fantastic.”
The Wildcat offense put together a drive at the end of the third but came up short on 4th-and-1 with 8:02 remaining in the game. That inability to finish drives hurt BGA throughout the night.
“Their guys played hard, but we just have to improve our execution,” BGA coach Jonas Rodriguez. “We just didn’t finish drives, so that’s on us and our execution. It wasn’t so much anything that they did.”
There were opportunities to make plays, but the Wildcats (4-4) fell short too many times. Their inefficiency showed up on the stat sheet as BGA won the time of possession battle but converted just 5-of-13 third-down attempts.
“We have to get better at the little things. That’s where we faltered and had some execution errors (Friday),” Rodriguez said. “We have to be more consistent each play, but our guys played really hard, competed and fought their tails off.”
BGA QB Brett Brown struggled, completing 8-of-21 pass attempts for 129 yards and three interceptions.
The lone bright spot offensively was running back Sean Williams, who totaled 184 yards on 29 touches.
Both teams have playoff games next Friday, Nov. 6 at 7 p.m. Lipscomb Academy will host St. George's (4-2), while BGA is set to travel to Northpoint Christian (5-4).