Chattanooga Christian School looked like a football team on a mission Friday night in its Division II-AA playoff game against Christian Academy of Knoxville.
Hosting a postseason game for the first time, the Chargers were dominant in a 42-10 victory at David Stanton Field, pounding the Warriors on the ground to the tune of 402 yards.
CCS (7-3) was led by junior running backs Traveon Scott and Jamichael Baxter. Scott had 191 yards and three touchdowns, and Baxter rushed for 134 yards and two scores.
"I told the kids the game was going to be won in the trenches," Chargers coach Mark Mariakis said. "Our kids were challenged all week just to do what you do and not worry about everybody else. I felt like they handled themselves well, showed up and played the most complete game since I've been at CCS."
Offensive linemen are often overlooked in favor of ball carriers. For the Chargers, led by seniors Keano Roberts and Colt Sinor, the commanding presence of the big men is hard to ignore.
"We came out so ready and so emotional," Roberts said. "We were on a mission to not go home. Getting knocked out in the first round the past couple of years has killed us. We came out with a mindset to dominate, and that's what we did and hope to continue to do."
The Chargers ran the ball 50 times and threw it just twice, and they scored touchdowns on six of their eight possessions. It was Scott who got CCS off to a fast start, scoring twice in the first half on runs of 70 and 46 yards.
"We say that our time is now," Scott said. "Shout-out to my linemen. We have a lot of talent and we don't give up at all. We've got heart, and that's all that matters."
A 25-yard touchdown pass to senior receiver Michael Houge just before halftime gave the Chargers a 21-3 lead.
In the third quarter, Baxter picked up where Scott left off as his first touchdown, on the Chargers' first offensive series of the second half, extended the lead to 25 points.
"First of all, I thank my O-line," Baxter said. "We do a great job of driving the ball down their throats. We have a big family connection here, and that's what makes us different."
CAK (8-3) got its lone touchdown just a few minutes later, but Baxter scored again from 2 yards to start the fourth quarter. Scott added his final touchdown four minutes later after his own interception started the Chargers at midfield.
CCS held the Warriors to 238 total yards, with 116 of those coming on three plays.
The Chargers will travel in next week's second round to play Nashville's Christ Presbyterian Academy (5-6), which won 35-0 against Knoxville Webb (3-7).
Contact Kevin Llewallyn at firstname.lastname@example.org.