Andrew Howard’s go ahead touchdown reception on fourth and goal lifts the Lions past the Spartans
Old football rivals meet again this season in Division II-AA’s Middle region with Christ Presbyterian Academy, Goodpasture and Lipscomb Academy electing to leave Division I.
The trio join established Division II programs Battle Ground Academy and Franklin Road Academy in the middle region.
“A lot of the kids on these teams know each other,” BGA coach Roc Batten said. “We are now trying to make sure the middle schools and junior varsity kids play each other.
“All of these programs will be familiar with each other. I think that’s a good thing for the league.”
The five programs have combined to win 16 football championships with BGA leading the group with six. CPA, Lipscomb and Goodpasture have each won three and FRA has one football title.
All but two Nashville area private schools — Columbia Academy and Grace Christian — now compete in Division II thanks in part to new TSSAA financial assistance regulations.
While that essentially rekindled private school rivalries, it also snapped several public-private rivalries.
“For me, there is a sad part that you aren’t playing the public schools,” Lipscomb Academy coach Scott Tillman said. “The idea that we shouldn’t all be in together and not playing the Hillwoods, Maplewoods and Stratfords and those schools that are right around the corner from us as well is kind of sad.”
Lipscomb Academy’s schedule includes a Sept. 15 home meeting with Goodpasture.
The Cougars’ new region opponents are not new to them, coach Jerry Joslin said. Goodpasture played all four of them a year ago, losing to BGA in the season opener, splitting with CPA and beating Lipscomb and FRA.
“But now we are in the same region,” Joslin said. “Those schools are very similar to us. They have great players and great traditions.”
The downside of the new region is having to find six non-region games.
Both Lipscomb Academy and CPA play statewide power Ensworth in consecutive weeks to open the season.
CPA, which reached the Class 3A semifinals a year ago, also plays Hillsboro, Independence, Pearl-Cohn, Stratford and Smyrna in non-region play.
“Guys we called for games all have as much trouble finding games as we do,” CPA coach Ingle Martin said.
“People can say they are having trouble finding games. But are they willing to play a team that can beat you? Our six non-conference games — all of those teams can beat us.”
Reach Tom Kreager at firstname.lastname@example.org or 615-259-8089 and on Twitter @Kreager.