Already with more than 1,000 combined yards of offense, Christ Presbyterian Academy’s 1-2 punch is the main reason it is unbeaten near the halfway point of the football season.
The Lions (4-0) have quarterback Albert Mitchell and running back Chase Smith largely to thank for the fact that their offense averages 35 points a game. The duo also provides hope for a Class 3A state championship, a goal the Lions fell two wins short of last year.
The lanky 6-foot-3, 185-pound Mitchell, who had an outstanding passing season last year, hopes for even better numbers this season.
“I worked hard over the summer, just trying to fine-tune my game, getting down stuff like footwork, the drop-backs, the whole package,” Mitchell said earlier this week. “It’s a combination of a lot of things, I have lot of good receivers, the line is doing a great job of blocking, those are all keys.”
Added Smith, one of the area’s leading rushers: “Albert and I have played on the same team since sixth grade, so we’re totally on the same page in what we’re trying to do. He’s been quarterback, and I’ve been the running back.
“In our senior year, I’m hoping we can win a state championship.”
Through the first four games:
• Mitchell has completed 25 of 47 for 454 yards, seven touchdowns and two interceptions. His longest completion has gone for 51 yards.
• Smith has rushed for 475 yards on 43 carries (an 11-yard average), scored eight touchdowns, one of which went 75 yards, and has caught three passes for 75 yards (a 25-yard average) with two touchdowns.
Those stats likely make the duo the most productive pair in Nashville prep football at the halfway point of the season.
Smith likely had his best game in the opener. The 5-foot-10, 185-pound speedster rushed for 128 yards and both touchdowns as CPA held off rival Goodpasture 14-7 back on Aug. 17.
Mitchell had a monster game last Friday, clicking on 11-of-15 passes for a season high 246 yards and four touchdowns in a 48-16 region romp at Stratford.
“We’ve got the experience with a lot of juniors and seniors,” Smith, who has recovered from a broken thumb injury in an MBA 7-on-7 camp in July, said. “That, along with a great offensive line, really makes us go.”
The Lions jumped one spot to No. 3 in Class 3A in this week’s Associated Press poll, heading into a home game Friday against Davidson Academy.
Great teams generally start with great quarterbacks, and that is something the mild-mannered Mitchell, who has committed to Samford, represents.
“I’ve just tried to have a good attitude, come in with a good work ethic and make sure I’m getting the job done,” he said. “Our goal is to win state, the same as last year. Our team, especially the seniors, are all working hard for it.”
A bonus for Mitchell is that he is in his second season of working under coach Ingle Martin, a former MBA all-state and Mr. Football quarterback, who also played at Florida and Furman in college, then briefly in the NFL.
“Just his knowledge of the position and attacking defenses, I’ve been so fortunate to have him as coach,” Mitchell said. “He’s definitely made me a better player.”
In addition to running back, Smith also plays defensive back and is one of the leaders in the secondary.
“I definitely like to run the ball, but I like defense even better,” he said.
“These guys are both outstanding leaders,” Martin, in his second year at CPA, said. “They both have a great work ethic. Mitchell has worked so hard and gives us that calm leadership, and Smith has a different type of leadership, more outgoing. It’s worked great for our team.”
As Mitchell says, “Our motto is ‘Finish.’ That’s been our whole focus this season.”
• Earlier this week, LSU wrote and requested DVDs of CPA offensive lineman Paul Adams. The mammoth 6-foot-6, 250-pound junior already has several bowl subdivision offers and is expected to be one of the state’s top 2014 recruits.
• The 34th annual Father Ryan Invitational volleyball tournament is scheduled Friday and Saturday, with Wilson Central, Battle Ground Academy and the host Irish expected to contend for the title. The tournament opens at 4 p.m. Friday and runs through pool play Saturday morning. Finals are approximately 4 p.m. Saturday.
• Host Brentwood High (36-3) won the gold division of the Brentwood Volleyball Invitational last weekend at A-Game Sportsplex in Brentwood. Hume-Fogg won the silver division.
• Ensworth’s Anne Douglas Dingess was named player of the week by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America after she scored three goals and had an assist in a three-game stretch last week. The Furman commitment has a streak of at least one goal in five straight games.
Cane Ridge at McGavock
Davidson Academy at Christ Presbyterian Academy
Donelson Christian Academy at Boyd Buchanan
East Nashville at Maplewood
Ensworth at Battle Ground Academy
Franklin at Smyrna
Gallatin at Brentwood High
Glencliff at Antioch
Grace Christian at Franklin Road Academy
Hillsboro at Whites Creek
Hunters Lane at Overton
Independence at Coffee County
Lancaster at Nashville Christian School
Pearl-Cohn at Montgomery Bell Academy
Ravenwood at Siegel
Station Camp at Hillwood
Stratford at Lawrence County
Wilson Central at Centennial