By ZACH HARMUTH
From 2011 to 2015- five seasons- the Christ Presbyterian Academy Lions football team lost only six games- including the playoffs- and played in three state championship games.
The alumni of those years will look back and wonder: how did they only win one state championship over those years? The win came in 2014, the absolute peak of the Ingle Martin era at CPA, when the Lions ran the table to go 15-0.
In his first season, 2011, he led the Lions to a 12-2 record overall, and their deepest playoff run since 2005.
Their only regular season loss was against Maplewood, and barely. They lost 21-20. They would not lose again in the regular season for nearly four years.
Then in the State AAA semifinals, they lost to Milan by just two points, 16-14.
In 2012, the Lions went undefeated in the regular season. averaging 36 points per game while giving up only 16. Milan, again, ended their postseason. This time in the state semi finals. Again it was close. They lost 16-8.
2013 was the Lions second regular season in a row where they won every game.
Again they averaged about 36 points per game and their defense was even better, giving up only about 14 points per game. They ran the table in the playoffs, getting the the state championship game. But Alcoa stood in their way this time, winning 25-7.
The next year was their year. The Lions for the third year in a row ran the table. In the playoffs they did the same.
And they did it in story book fashion: beating first Milan– 40-6 and then Alcoa, in the AAA state championship game, 7-0 in a defensive battle that the Lions dominated.
On the year CPA averaged 40 points per contest and allowed just over 11.
The Lions scored the game’s only points on a 3-yard run by senior Jay Hockaday less than five minutes into the game.
“What we talked about all week as a team was the game’s going to start, we’re going to get the ball and we’re going to pound it and we are going to score on the first drive,” CPA quarterback Zack Weatherly said at the time. “There was no but, maybe, if. There was nothing. We are going to score. And that’s exactly what we did. If you believe you’re going to do it then you’re going to do it.”
Hockaday racked up 124 rushing yards, earning Offensive MVP honors.
“I just wanted to win this game,” he said.
It was the end of a three-season run of a perfection for the Lions, who lost to Ensworth in the 2015 regular season and then, go figure, Alcoa in the 2015 state title game.