In the opening weeks of the season, Clarksville Academy wasn’t challenged as it rolled to convincing wins over Montgomery Central and Stewart County.
When it finally received a challenge, Clarksville Academy found it could answer the call.
The Cougars scored on a pair of third-and-goal situations and backup quarterback Travis Swails threw a 45-yard touchdown pass that proved to be the clincher in a 29-14 win over Nashville Christian on Friday in the District 10-A opener for both teams.
“It’s a big win for our program, we know they (Nashville Christian) are going to be one of the top teams in district,” Clarksville Academy coach Todd Hood said. “They have some great athletes. We kept them in check for the most part. We had a lot of kids go down, but a lot of people stepped up tonight.”
Jaleel Stubbs scored on a pair of short touchdown runs, and Swails ran the Cougars’ offense during portions of the third and fourth quarter when starter Jacob Rugen left with a minor injury.
Swails ran for 37 yards on four carries and had the game-breaking touchdown pass to Anderson one possession after Nashville Christian had scored to pull within 23-14.
“Swails was huge, he got us a few first downs, kept the clock running, kept them off the field and they were wearing down too,” Hood said. “I was proud of him for stepping in there. He wants to be on the field, and when his number was called tonight he performed well.”
The Cougars (3-0, 1-0) jumped on Nashville Christian (1-2, 0-1) quickly scoring on their first two offensive possessions. Stubbs’ 7-yard run finished off Academy’s game-opening drive, which covered 63 yards.
On their next possession, the Cougars took a 14-0 lead when Rugen threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Ivan Purcell on a third-and-goal.
Nashville Christian briefly made the game interesting when Phillip Booker scored on a 97-yard run with 8:51 left in the second quarter.
“We missed a tackle or two,” Hood said.
“It’s hard to blank them and holding them to 14 points I think that was pretty good.”
Any momentum gained by Booker’s touchdown was wiped out by Clarksville Academy’s special teams. Twice in the second quarter, the Cougars pinned Nashville Christian inside the 5-yard line; the first resulted in a safety.
John Ross Rudolph sacked quarterback Ryan Young in the back of the end zone. The Cougars pushed their lead to 23-7 when Stubbs scored from 3-yards out on a third-and-goal.