Nothing like a little 28-point loss to get a No. 1 team back to full focus.
For defending Division II state champion Ensworth the unlucky next opponent was Battle Ground Academy, which appeared on the Tigers’ schedule last Friday seven days after a 42-14 Ensworth loss to Chattanooga Baylor.
“Obviously, I didn’t have my team as prepared for the game (at Baylor) as I needed to,” Ensworth coach Ricky Bowers said. “Baylor was waiting on us — they were wearing ‘Beat Ensworth’ T-Shirts, they had bonfires and they had guns going off — the whole deal.
“Our team didn’t respond the way we needed to.”
The Tigers’ reaction to their first defeat was much better. They blitzed previously unbeaten BGA 33-7.
There won’t be a rematch with Baylor until possibly the DII state finals. So for Ensworth (5-1), the next best thing was the next game — a tough match against pass-happy BGA.
“Our players had an excellent week of practice, and we were able to refocus as a team,” Bowers said. “We went out and competed the entire game.”
The defense, which was shredded for 375 yards against Baylor, allowed high-powered BGA just 199 yards total offense. It put quarterback C.J. Beathard, who clicked on 17-of-18 passes a week earlier against Montgomery Bell Academy, under duress almost the entire game. He completed just 15 of 32 and threw an interception.
BGA fell to 5-1 with homecoming looming Friday against McCallie.
Ensworth quarterback Andrew Bowers (the coach’s son) continues to improve. He was 6-for-11 for 127 yards against BGA.
“His job is not to get us beat and to get the ball into the right personnel’s hands, and he’s been doing that,” Ricky Bowers said. “And, besides, I really like his mom.”
Tigers turn to Batey, then harvest Corn
Ensworth’s Corey Batey, who was a non-factor in the first half, was electrifying in the second. The wide receiver caught a 37-yard touchdown pass on the Tigers’ opening drive of the second half and wound up with four catches for 85 yards and two touchdowns.
“Whenever I get the chance to catch a pass or help my team win, that’s what I’ll do,”
Batey, a Vanderbilt commitment, said. “As a senior, my role is leadership, and want to help lead the underclassmen the best I can.
“This past week, we had great practices, and we were determined to refocus and put that [Baylor] game behind us.”
Star tailback Corn Elder, who racked up 204 yards rushing the first half, finished with 265 yards in 21 carries. His effort included an 80-yard touchdown on Ensworth’s first play of the second quarter. That was right after BGA missed 48-yard field goal, which would have tied it 3-3.
“Last week, Baylor locked us down,” Elder said. “This week, we refocused as a team and kept practicing hard this week, and it showed the way we played. The line blocked great [Friday].”
Elder redeemed himself for a lost fumble late in the third quarter with an interception and a 40-yard return on the very next play. The Tigers made it 30-0 five plays later on Justin Lloyd’s 12-yard run.
Bowers deferred when asked if Elder was the best running back he’s ever coached but did add “he’s definitely the fastest.”
Next up for Ensworth is homecoming against Pope John Paul II on Friday. The Tigers will be heavily favored in that one before a key regular-season ending trio of road games against big rival MBA (Thursday Night Lights Oct. 6), Brentwood Academy and Father Ryan.
• Creek squeaks by: Whites Creek remained in the thick of the playoff picture when it raliied for a 21-18 overtime win over host Hillsboro. After the Burros went ahead 18-15 with a field goal, Garez Dixon scored from three yards out for the Cobras (4-2), who visit Lipscomb next week.
• At last: Beleaguered McGavock finally collected its first win, 13-10 in a Class 6A matchup with Cane Ridge. Presley Gamble’s 56-yard touchdown pass to James Davis in the fourth quarter provided the difference for the Raiders (1-4).
• Coach of the Year: St. Cecilia’s Teresa Marchetti has been named the Tennessee girls cross country coach of the year, in a vote of the sport’s coaches. She was honored at the school last Thursday.
• State golf: The TSSAA state Class A/AA golf tournament is Tuesday and Wednesday at Willowbrook Course in Manchester. Region 5 champion David Lipscomb carries the Nashville boys hopes. The Mustangs last won state in 2008.
• Lipscomb laboring: David Lipscomb (1-4), minus injured starting quarterback Luke Simpson, has been outscored 35-0 and 34-0 by Maplewood and Goodpasture the last two weeks, respectively. Simpson could return as soon as Friday against Whites Creek.
• BA’s Cheeseman wins: Brentwood Academy sophomore Allison Cheeseman won the girls division in the 46th annual A.F. Bridges cross country Invitational Saturday at the Edwin Warner Park course. The Eagles placed third in the team standings. Father Ryan finished second in the boys division behind winning Greenbrier.
Baylor at Brentwood Academy
Beech at Hendersonville
Brentwood High at Centennial
CPA at East Literature
DCA at FRA
Franklin at Ravenwood
Glencliff at Cane Ridge
Independence at Hillsboro
Knox Webb at Ezell-Harding
Maplewood at Pearl-Cohn
MBA at Father Ryan
McCallie at BGA
McGavock at Hunters Lane
Overton at Hillwood
Pope JPII at Ensworth
Riverside Christian at Davidson Academy
Whites Creek at Lipscomb
White House at Goodpasture