Lions’ duo combines for five TDs on five touches as CPA takes down Independence
NASHVILLE – Things didn’t start well for CPA’s offense in the Lions’ season opener against visiting Independence on Friday evening, but they were feeling just fine when the smoke cleared.
Despite a turnover on the first play of the game, the Lions steadily pulled away in the second half for a 42-24 victory with junior Crews Law and senior London Humphreys doing most of the damage.
Law scored on all three of his carries, finding the end zone from three yards out and seven yards away in the first half and adding a 40-yarder in the third quarter. Law also added eight tackles on defense.
“That’s all my (offensive) line,” Law said. “I’m walking through huge holes having to beat one guy. I can’t do it without my line.”
Humphreys won a jump ball in the first quarter for the first of his two touchdowns, a 25-yarder from Thomas Vaccaro, then added a 29-yard score on his only other catch of the night, one play after Jackson Mathews intercepted a Cody Pagach pass in the second quarter.
“We just had a miscommunication on the interception,” Independence head coach Scott Stidham said. “At that point, (CPA) goes in and scores and we’re playing uphill from there.”
Independence led 10-7 after the first quarter, with a Landric Mayeski field goal and a Tre’ Hartwell touchdown on fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line putting the Eagles out in front early.
Law, who switched to the familiar No. 11 his older brother Cade wore during his time at CPA, gave the Lions a 14-10 lead with 10 minutes left in the first half on his first touchdown carry.
“(Cade) loved it,” Law said. “He was the first person I told when I chose (number) 11 and he was pumped.”
The Eagles cut the gap back to four when Brayden Needham caught a five-yard TD pass from Pagach on fourth-and-goal with 2:53 left in the first half, but a long kickoff return immediately put CPA back in scoring range. Law found the end zone from seven yards out, though it took some discussion from officials to confirm the score as he fumbled on the way in.
His third score busted the game open with 10:28 left in the third quarter. The Eagles did respond when Brooks Sapone hit Daniel Morales for a 35-yard touchdown, but Independence could not draw any closer.
“Our kids played hard for all four quarters and when things didn’t look good, I was proud of the effort,” Stidham said. “And we played a great football team. (CPA is) a great, established program. We knew going in what we were getting our hands in, and we really did a lot of things that’s all correctable.”
Josh Mayernick, who had fumbled on the game’s first play from scrimmage, capped the scoring with a 25-yard touchdown run with 2:59 remaining. Mayernick rushed for 118 yards on 15 carries.
Assistant coach Steve Haywood was the acting head coach for the evening as Lions head coach Ingle Martin is supporting his son on the Nolensville team at the Little League World Series.
“It could not have been this good had we not had the assistant coaches that we had,” Haywood said. “Every step of the way, every day, it’s ‘what can I do to help you, we believe in you, we trust you,’ so I can’t say enough about the assistant coaches and how they filled in and did so much.”
Independence was without Alabama commit Ty Lockwood, who recently had his appendix removed. Lockwood did travel with the team and assisted with pregame warmups. Stidham believes he won’t miss too much more time.
“I think he’ll be back real soon,” Stidham said.
Thomas Vaccaro completed 8-of-10 passes for 116 yards and the two Humphreys touchdowns in his first start at quarterback for the Lions after backing up Cade Law the past two years.