The late September turn of events had coach Glenn McCadams scratching his head.
His normally powerhouse team at David Lipscomb had just lost back-to-back football games to Maplewood and Goodpasture 35-0 and 34-0, respectively, during which it had just 112 and 119 yards total offense, respectively. Injuries piled up along the way
But as of early October, the Mustangs have started a rise from the ashes. Their streak of 18 consecutive playoff appearances remains in jeopardy, but it’s not as long a longshot as it was two weeks ago.
As injured players returned to health, David Lipscomb rebounded for a resounding 34-0 win over Whites Creek a little more than a week ago and followed with a narrow 10-9 win over Greenbrier last Friday, thanks to Daniel Bruce’s fourth quarter field goal and a stop of a possible game-winning two-point try.
Those victories lifted Lipscomb to a 3-4 record, average by some schools’ standards, bad by David Lipscomb’s.
“I was standing over on the sidelines during [the two blowout losses] and wondering if the game had passed me by,” McCadams said.
Not so fast.
“I was surprised that we were able to beat a good Whites Creek team like that,” McCadams said. “We’ve had some injuries and we’re playing more sophomores than I can ever remember. But we’re improving.”
Most notably for the Mustangs, starting quarterback Luke Simpson (knee), leading tackler Cooper Jackson (ankle, hand) and cornerback Jacob Campbell (leg) all returned for the Whites Creek game. Simpson threw a touchdown pass Friday at Greenbrier.
“We held out Luke the one extra week just to be sure he was 100 percent for the Whites Creek game,” said McCadams, who has 312 wins at David Lipscomb (371 overall) and three state championships in 30 seasons.
The Mustangs still have some work to do in order to reach the postseason.
Going into Friday’s game, they were in 37th place, the fifth team out of the 32-team Class 4A field. Friday’s win should inch them closer when the TSSAA playoff rankings come out Tuesday.
Still, David Lipscomb controls its own destiny.
The Mustangs visit first-place Pearl-Cohn, 4-0 in 10-AA, on Friday. Then comes Maplewood (4-1), which knocked off previously unbeaten CPA 21-20 last weekend. CPA and Lipscomb are 2-1.
Then the Mustangs host CPA and visit Stratford in a closing set of games, which will define their season.
“We hope to have a nice finishing chapter for this story,” McCadams said.
• BA’s Harper enjoying ‘retirement’: Veteran Brentwood Academy track and cross-country coach Charlie Harper, who retired from coaching last spring, remains a teacher at the school he loves.
“I’m going to keep teaching there as long as they will have me. I love being around kids,” Harper, 67, said.
His teams won 18 TSSAA track and cross country state championships — the last of which was last May when BA edged Baylor by one point to win the boys Division II track and field crown.
Harper, who had been BA’s coach for 28, was a distance runner himself in high school.
Harper also competed in football, basketball, tennis and swimming. He went on to become a top distance and cross country runner at Kansas State.
Harpoer came to BA from Murfreesboro Oakland. He formed the Harper Relays in 2003 and it has become as a prestigious a relays event as there is the state with the top area teams competing the first Saturday each May.
• Air Overton: Usually ground-oriented Overton turned to the airways last Friday to squeeze out a 35-32 win over McGavock. Although the Bobcats threw just six passes (compared to 44 for McGavock), two went for touchdowns to Rozelle Wilson.
Player of the game Zabian King rushed for 116 yards and two touchdowns and returned an interception for another.
Overton (7-1, 5-0) can clinch the Region 6-AAA championship with a win over rival Antioch (4-0, 4-3) Friday.
• Golf championship: The Dvision II state golf tournament will be held Monday and Tuesday at Willowbrook Course in Manchester.
In DII-AA, Brentwood Academy is expected to challenge McCallie (boys) and Ensworth (girls) hopes to battle St. Agnes and Baylor for that title.
In DII-A, the USN has a good shot at the girls, while the FRA and DCA teams carry the Nashville boys hopes.
• Volleyball tournaments on tap: Overton, which won the regular season title, is the top seed for the District 12-AAA tournament, which opens Tuesday in the Bobcat Gym.
No. 5 seed Glencliff kicks off the tournament with a match against Cane Ridge at 4 p.m., along with Hillwood vs. Antioch. Hunters Lane meets No. 2 seed McGavock at 5:30 p.m.
Semifinals will be held at 4 p.m. Wednesday followed by the championship match at 5:30 p.m.
Overton also hosts the freshman city championships Thursday.
Regular season champion CPA is the top seed in the District 10-AA tournament, which opens Tuesday at Whites Creek High. A play-in game will be followed by four quarterfinal games. Semifinal matches will be held Thursday afternoon, followed by the championship match.
• High praise for Beathard: Ralph Brown, whose 1960 Battle Ground Academy team, led by all-state quarterback Duke Shackelford, went 11-0 record and won a state championship, had high praise for current Wildcats star C.J. Beathard.
“He [Beathard] is the best passer BGA has had since Duke,” Brown, 81, said last week during the BGA Hall of Fame ceremony. “He has such a quick release, extremely good touch and is so accurate.”
Ezell-Harding at Davidson Academy
Centennial at Ravenwood
Franklin at Independence
Antioch at Overton
Brentwood Academy at Father Ryan
Cane Ridge at Hillwood
Franklin Road Academy at Zion Christian
Glencliff at McGavock
Goodpasture at Sycamore
Hillsboro at Brentwood
David Lipscomb at Pearl-Cohn
Hunters Lane at East Lit
Mt. Juliet Christian at Donelson Christian Academy
Nashville Christian School at White House-Heritage
Pope John Paul II at McCallie
Stratford at Maplewood
Whites Creek at Christ Presbyterian Academy