The BlueCross Bowl DII-AA State Championship was ready to kick off between The CPA Lions and Lipscomb Academy Mustangs, two teams that would consider a state championship the standard in their established cultures. For Lipscomb however there was a potential distraction over the day as it had been announced earlier in the week that this would be the last game for Head Coach, Trent Dilfer, as he would be moving to UAB to be a head coach in Conference USA. Lipscomb had looked like one of the best teams in all of Tennessee high school football, and CPA worked and overcame adversity to be in Chattanooga for their fifth time in a row. Could CPA find a way to beat one of the best high school football teams in America? Could Lipscomb stay focused with their coach leading them for the final time? Which team would further their legacy and claim the State Title?
We were under way between two teams that are very familiar with each other and have no love lost. The energy was apparent early on defense as they both traded punts. On Lipscomb’s second possession however, Drew Patterson would open up the scoring after a long drive from The Mustangs to make it 7-0 Lipscomb early on. The Mustangs were not done. Showing no signs of distraction, the talented Lipscomb defense suffocated the CPA offense and gave the ball right back to their own. After a couple of great passes from Liberty commit, Hank Brown, The Mustangs were right back in business inside the redzone, and that is where the first quarter would come to a close, with Lipscomb knocking on the door and CPA needing a stop to avoid beginning the second quarter down 14-0.
On the first play of the second quarter of the 2022 BlueCross Bowl Junior Sherrill darted into the endzone after putting his foot in the ground and cutting up field on a beautifully designed wide receiver toss reverse for to make it 14-0 Mustangs. The Lions were not ready to go quietly though, as they moved the ball into Lipscomb territory on their first play of the second quarter on a great catch and run. After a physical run by Asher Keck, CPA had reached the redzone. Needing a touchdown, The Lions found themselves in a huge 3rd down and 8. A fade to London Humphries in the back of the endzone was complete but out of bounds. It was decision time for Head Coach Ingle Martin. Down 14-0 The Lions elected to go for it on 4th down but were turned away by the Lipscomb defense. The Mustangs would now start their second drive of the second quarter inside their own 15-yard line.
After gaining a first down Hank Brown showed poise as a senior quarterback, as he hung in the pocket and delivered a strike over the middle into CPA territory. This Mustang team smelled blood and so did Junior Sherrill as he scored his second rushing touchdown of the day on an 18-yard run where he drug a defender on his back for the last 5 to make it 21-0. CPA needed a response and fast. Luckily for them, they continued to have good field position as Lipscomb avoided the deep kick to a CPA team that returned two kickoffs for touchdowns in their earlier meeting this year. The drive would start at midfield for the Lions, but a three and out with a fourth down and long caused Ingle Martin to decide to punt. Tennessee commit Kaleb Beasley was deep to return the punt, but the kick went through his hands. With Lions closing in Beasley picked the ball up with his back to the defense at his own two-yard line. It seemed this could only end in disaster for Lipscomb, but then Beasley turned, made two Lions miss, and exploded for a 60-yard return.
On Lipscomb’s next play the ball carrier would be tackled out of bounds into the line of scrimmage marker bending it into a “C” shape. Play was halted for nearly ten minutes as officials tried to get the situation “straightened out.” Once play resumed, Lipscomb continued to lean on Vanderbilt commit, Junior Sherrill in the run and pass game. With time ticking down in the first half The Mustangs had worked the ball down to the redzone and capped off the drive with a Drew Patterson touchdown run, making it 28-0 Lipscomb. CPA needed to get on the board before half but once again would go three and out against the impressive Mustang defense and would give Lipscomb 29 seconds to add another score. The Mustangs got off three plays including a hook and ladder to Sherrill that looked dangerous, but time expired and they would take a 28-0 lead to the locker room.
CPA received the ball to start the second half and needed to energize an offense that found little success in the first half. Ingle Martin trying to inject some life, made a QB change as Thomas Vaccaro came in for Braden Streeter. After picking up a first down Vaccaro was picked off by Kaleb Beasley who returned the ball to the two-yard line, as The Mustangs continued to suffocate CPA. On third down Hank Brown would look to pass and who else but number three Junior Sherrill hauled in touchdown number three on the night for the Vandy commit. As Sherrill and The Mustangs continued to dominate, they extended their lead to 35. After a disaster of a kick return CPA started their next drive inside their own 15. The Lions still could not get anything going and once again went three and out and was forced to punt. Lipscomb was putting on a defensive clinic. Not to be overlooked The Lipscomb offense decides to get in on the fun as Hank Brown delivered a missile over the middle to, guess who, Junior Sherrill who made two defenders miss on a 40 yard catch and run to score his fourth touchdown on the day and third through the air. As the third quarter came to a close with The Mustangs up 42-0, they were just one quarter away from winning back-to-back state titles.
The fourth quarter began with another three and out for CPA and Lipscomb getting the ball back with just under eight minutes to go. Lipscomb began to move the ball down the field in what would be their last drive of the game due the running clock caused by Lipscomb’s lead. After a nice run from Patterson The Mustangs were right back inside the CPA 10-yard line with under two minutes to go. After another run from Patterson, Lipscomb was faced with 3rd and goal on what would be the last play of the game. A throw to the endzone fell incomplete and the clock hit 0:00. Lipscomb Academy is you 2022 and back-to-back state champions. Trent Dilfer’s last game at Lipscomb and Lipscomb’s last game in DII-AA was a dominant state champion win. Trent Dilfer said after the game as he fought back tears that he felt he left Lipscomb better than he found it and praised the kids on his team that he said “will change the world.”
The final score from Chattanooga, Lipscomb 42 CPA 0.