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Down 7 at half, state’s No. 1 Warriors rally big past Kingston

Christian Academy of Knoxville did more than just add another ‘W’ to its season Friday, Oct. 14, despite the added pressure of being named the top football team in class 3A for the first time in school history.

The Warriors also clinched a spot in the post-season with the 48-21 District 4-AA win at Kingston (6-3, 2-2).

“It’s huge for us to go ahead and get the playoff spot locked up. Now all we’re doing is playing for a district championship; we’re playing for seeding,” CAK head coach Rusty Bradley, said. “To go ahead and get that locked up is good for us. I’m pleased with that.”

Early in the game, the Warriors were far from having it locked in. A lot of little mistakes meant CAK (7-1, 4-0) was trailing at the half, 21-14.

“We had a snap where we just snapped it because [Kingston was] yelling our snap count. We had a turnover. We kept a [Kingston] drive alive with a late hit out of bounds,” Bradley said.

But the Warrior defense stepped up during the third quarter and gave CAK control of the game.

“The defense really set the tone for the entire second half by creating three turnovers on Kingston’s first three drives,” Bradley said. “I am really pleased with those guys.”

One of CAK’s starting defensive tackles, Michael Sizemore, led the team with seven tackles, followed by Colby Maddux with six. Doug Redford, Cody Bailey, John Broyles and Josh Smith each had a pick.

Smith also caught three TD passes from Charlie High, who completed 27 of 31 passes for 351 yards and one interception.

Although six of CAK’s seven TDs were secured in the air, the Warriors ran the ball more than usual.

“Sometimes [Kingston] had their linebackers a little deeper than normal pre-snap … so I knew we’d have the opportunity to run the ball against them and have some success,” Bradley said. “Corey [Rathbone] did a great job. Our offensive line created a lot of movement up front and did a nice job of creating some holes.”

Struggling for the win, he added, was exactly what the Warriors needed.

“We needed to have to fight through a little bit of adversity because that’s what the playoffs are going to be like. It was a good thing for us.”

CAK goes to Middle Tennessee versus LaVergne Friday, Oct. 21. Opening kickoff is 7:30 p.m.


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