CAK gives Sparta Warriors first loss in close game

Posted By | September 10, 2019 12:28 pm

Freshman Malichai Dowell tackles a runner from Christian Academy at Knoxville. (Photo by JULIA MORRIS)

By Jerry Lowery

Both Warrior teams came in at 2-0.  Both coaches knew it would be a battle in the first meeting of the two schools.  The game was not settled until the final horn sounded.  The final score ended with Christian Academy of Knoxville ahead by a slim margin, 32-29.

CAK started the scoring with a 30-yard field goal in the second quarter at the 8:20 mark on the clock after a scoreless first half.  CAK again scored on their next possession with a 12-yard touchdown pass and a two-point conversion gave CAK the lead 11-0.  The Warriors took possession right before halftime and with 34 seconds on the clock. Will Griggs rushed into the end zone from two yards out.  A Sydreck Leftwich pass to Kade Clark gave Sparta the two-point conversion and pulling the lead to only three. At halftime, the score was 11-8.

Coming out of halftime, the Warriors had a costly offside penalty on the kickoff that gave CAK the opportunity to onside kick, and they recovered the ball and took possession.  CAK moved down the short field, and, after a six-yard touchdown run and extra point, the visiting Warriors took the lead, 18-8.

After stopping the Sparta Warriors, CAK scored on a 51-yard touchdown pass and, with the extra point, took a 25-8 lead in the third quarter.  With strong running from Griggs, Sparta drove down the field. At the 2:12 mark in the third, Griggs found the end zone on a five-yard touchdown run.  Will Cheek added the extra point, and the score heading into the fourth quarter saw CAK up 25-15.

Leftwich broke free on a run and scrambled 29 yards to find paydirt, and, with the Cheek extra point, Sparta closed the gap 25-22.  CAK then moved the ball down the field with some big third down conversions and, with 4:33 left to play in the contest, scored on a nine-yard touchdown pass.  CAK extended the lead to 10 with the extra point 32- 22.

Sparta would not quit and drove down the field as Leftwich found Griggs on five-yard touchdown pass to once again close the gap to three points with the Cheek extra point.   CAK then took possession and kept the chains and clock moving.  The final score in a very close matchup was CAK 32, Sparta 29.

CAK had 145 yards rushing and 219 yards passing for a total offensive output of 364 yards.  The Sparta Warriors had 165 yards rushing and 159 yards passing.  Griggs led the Warriors with 16 carries and 77 yards.  Leftwich rushed eight times for 83 yards.  Jayden Richmond rushed 11 times for nine yards, and Noah Hamilton rushed one time for a minus 4 yards.  Leftwich went seven for 10 for 121 passing yards, Hamilton went four for nine for 29 yards.  Griggs had one pass for 13 yards.  Both teams combined had 688 offensive yards in a tough-fought ballgame.  CAK remains undefeated and Sparta moves to 2-1 on the season.

Sparta will face the Cookeville Cavaliers, on Sept. 13, at Warrior Stadium.

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