A resilient Boyd Buchanan team that bounced back from a winless season couldn't overcome mistakes, a 14-point hole and a Lipscomb Academy bunch operating near its peak Friday night in the first round of the Division II-AA state playoffs.
The Mustangs from Nashville, with Super Bowl-winning quarterback Trent Dilfer as the head coach, used a highly efficient offensive attack to move the ball all over the Buccaneers' David L. Boyd field, and they stunted big plays from the Boyd Buchanan offense and its Mr. Football semifinalist quarterback.
The 41-27 upset win ended No. 2-ranked Boyd-Buchanan's season and advanced Lipscomb to the quarterfinals to face Grace Christian Academy of Knoxville.
"I can't help but think about the ride our seniors have been on, and that's what I want remembered most about this season," an emotional Jeremy Bosken said after wrapping up his first season as Boyd Buchanan head coach. "They took the lowest-scoring team in the state at 0-10 to an 8-2 team and the No. 1 scoring offense in all Division II. Ordinary people can't make a change like that."
The Bucs' momentum from the home crowd was turned inside out after the Mustangs' first two possessions. Lipscomb opened the scoring via an 11-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Luther Richesson to Kyle McNamara. Then with the help of a couple of Boyd Buchanan defensive penalties, the Mustangs doubled their lead with a 4-yard run from running back Jaden Lyles.
The Bucs' experience from being in tough spots paid off near the end of the first quarter when Mr. Football candidate Eli Morris found Eli Evans for 21-yard score.
"It's kind of been who we are. We seem to like to give people a head start," Bosken said. "We've fought back from as much as 24 points down during the season, so I don't think it affects our kids that much even though it's not ideal. We play to play and we don't play the scoreboard."
After Lipscomb padded its lead early in the second quarter, the Bucs were put in a great position before halftime after a 40-yard grab from Evans over the back of a defender turned into a 1-yard touchdown run from Morris. Lipscomb fumbled the ball away on its next possession and gave the Bucs a chance to take a lead with more than two minutes until halftime, but four straight incompletions from Morris ended the threat.
Boyd Buchanan's Miguel Medina did his part to restore the momentum out of halftime when he strip-sacked Richesson, but the Bucs fumbled three plays later.
A methodical 10-play drive from the Mustangs on the ensuing possession pushed their lead to 28-14 with just less thn six minutes left in the third quarter. Boyd Buchanan's JaMichael McGoy ran back an 85-yard kickoff return, but the Bucs didn't have an answer for the Mustangs' next two touchdowns.
Lipscomb (6-5) advances to face Knoxville Grace (9-2), a 35-20 winner over Goodpasture (4-7).
Contact John Mitchell at firstname.lastname@example.org.