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CAK stays perfect

The second half was crucial in Christian Academy of Knoxville’s win at home versus District 4-AA rival Kingston, though the Warriors didn’t play too badly in the first half.

CAK pulled away to win 42-21, improving its unblemished record to 8-0. Kingston fell to 5-3.

Kingston won the coin toss and elected to receive. The Yellowjackets’ first drive ended when sophomore Charlie High intercepted the ball, his first of two, at CAK’s 1-yard line.

“We’ve been seeing those routes in practice, and we’ve just been working on them,” High said. “Coach [Fred] White’s been telling us to look for the deep balls, and finally two of them came to me.”

Warrior quarterback Quinn Epperly led his team 99 yards down the field in 11 plays. That averages out to nearly a first down every play.

CAK scored its first touchdown with 3:26 left in the first quarter when Epperly connected with receiver Josh Smith, a sophomore, for 18 yards.

Smith jumped up in the air, over several defenders, to make the catch and score.

“I was trying to make something happen,” Smith said. “I really wanted to score, so I jumped up there and caught it.”

Kingston answered on its next possession with a TD early in the second quarter.

CAK and Kingston both scored one more touchdown in the second quarter, and by the end of the first half the score was tied, 14-14.

In the locker room, CAK head coach Rusty Bradley told his players they needed to work harder.

Coach Bradley “gave one of the best speeches he’s ever said. He really motivated us to step up and make something happen, use the ability God gave us,” Smith said.

It worked. The Warriors dominated the second half.

Epperly, who completed 28 of 40 passes for 328 yards in the game, handed off to Carson Pegram twice and passed to Davis Howell and Smith for touchdowns — all in the second half.

“We’ve got a good receiver core. The thing I like about our receivers is that you can’t focus on one guy,” Bradley said. “We’ve got multiple guys that can make plays, and they’re very athletic.

“I think one of the things this year that separates us from years past is that our guys can make plays after the catch, and that’s a big thing for us,” he added.

The Warriors defense had its share of success as well. They held the Yellowjackets to several three-and-outs and caught two interceptions in the second half alone.

“I thought our defense did a great job of making some adjustments at halftime and just playing more physical,” Bradley said.

Senior inside linebacker Jacob Duncan led the team with 12 tackles, followed by defensive end Bryson Leinius, inside linebacker Tyler Eichholtz and cornerback Zach Scott with six each.

The Warriors’ final regular season home game, against Elizabethton this Friday, Oct. 22, has a changed opening kickoff time: moved up to 7 p.m.

For next week, Bradley said, “We’ve got to work on being ready to play from the start and not waiting a quarter to wake up. That’s on our kids; as a coach, I can’t instill that in them. They’ve got to come with that mentality.

High said, “Kingston is a physical team, and I think that was a good test for us. Elizabethton next week is going to be a very, very tough game; they’re a big, physical team. They’re going to push us.”

“Last year we only won by one, so I think it’s going to be a really tough game,” High added.


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