MT. JULIET—Donelson Christian Academy head coach Paul Wade probably wishes the playoffs started a week earlier after watching his offense play nearly mistake-free in a 57-13 victory over Mt. Juliet Christian Academy at Ed Suey Field last Friday night.
The Wildcats (7-3, 5-2 Division II-A East) did not win a game last season, but are a No. 3 seed in the playoffs. DCA will host Tipton-Rosemary (4-6), a No. 6 seed from Millington, on Friday in the first round of the playoffs. The winner of that game will play at Davidson Academy on Nov. 15.
MJCA (3-6, 3-4) will play at Columbia Academy (5-5), a No. 4 seed from the West Region, on Friday. The winner of the game will play at Friendship Christian School on Nov. 15. FCS beat MJCA 58-8 two weeks ago.
“This gave us a little playoff momentum for sure,” Wade said. “Last year at this time everyone had turned in their equipment.”
The Wildcats rushed for 223 yards and six touchdowns and added 220 passing yards and two more touchdowns without a fumble or punt the entire game.
Fullback Jordan Turner led DCA with 62 yards rushing and touchdown runs of 3 and 29 yards on six carries. Jon Lewis added 51 yards rushing and touchdown runs of 9 and 14 yards on five carries. Four of his rushes gained at least 9 yards.
Jacob Cook gained 50 yards on four carries with a touchdown run of 14 yards. Jordan Lewis also rushed for a touchdown.
Parker Howell piled up most of the receiving yards for DCA with seven catches for 162 yards and two touchdowns.
Despite the score, DCA senior quarterback Parker Kelley played the entire game, completing 9-of-11 passes with one interception. He completed his first seven passes, then ended the first half with an incompletion and an interception that MJCA’s Kamron Curtis returned to near midfield just before halftime. Kelley was sacked one time.
“Our quarterback is a senior but he still has a lot of learning to do,” Wade said. “His first snap in the playoffs will be next week and I wanted to get him as many game reps as possible.”
Howell caught a screen pass in the middle of the field and turned it into a 52-yard scoring play for DCA’s first touchdown midway through the first quarter.
“I think they blitzed on that play and there was a lot of room,” Howell said.
Turner added his first touchdown run late in the quarter.
The Wildcats scored 22 points in a four-minute span early in the second quarter.
Jon Lewis’ first scoring run came one play after Gage Scragg’s 36-yard diving catch put the ball at the MJCA 9. The Wildcats faked the PAT and Ethan Hoke caught a pass from holder Chase Carnahan for two points. Two minutes later, Gunner Schierling intercepted a pass and returned it to the MJCA 12. Two plays later Jordan Lewis scored on a 5-yard run.
Cook gave DCA a 36-0 lead two plays later with his TD run.
The Saints (3-6, 3-4) scored their first touchdown with 34 seconds left in the first half when quarterback JaMarion Thomas kept the ball and ran 10 yards to the end zone. Thomas and Curtis rotated series at quarterback — with Curtis taking all of his snaps in the Wildcat formation — because starting quarterback Christian Link had sprained a knee ligament in the previous week’s game. Thomas and Curtis combined to complete 6-of-17 passes for 4 yards and two interceptions.
MJCA head coach Dan Davis said he expects Link to return to the lineup in the first playoff game.
The Wildcats scored on their first two possessions of the second half. A pass interference penalty against MJCA moved the ball to the Saints’ 29. On the next play, Turner ran for his second touchdown of the game. On the next series, Jon Lewis had a 13-yard scoring run for a 50-6 lead.
DCA’s final touchdown came with 4:11 remaining in the game when Kelley threw a short pass to Howell, who completed the 41-yard scoring play. The receiver said he dislocated his finger when he was hit by a defender at the goal line, but he said after the game that he is fine.
The only other error for the DCA offense came at the 8:17 mark of the fourth quarter when the Wildcats attempted a 30-yard field goal. MJCA’s Eli Burgess blocked the kick and Montrell Walker returned it 75 yards for a touchdown.
Gabe Frankenfield intercepted an MJCA pass with a minute left in the game.
DCA - 14 22 14 7 — 57
MJCA 0 6 0 7 — 13
DCA - Parker Howell 52 pass from Parker Kelley (Braden Ducharme kick)
DCA - Jordan Turner 3 run (Ducharme kick)
DCA - Jon Lewis 9 run (Ethan Hoke pass from Chase Carnahan)
DCA - Jordan Lewis 5 run (Ducharme kick)
DCA - Jacob Cook 14 run (Ducharme kick)
MJCA - JaMarion Thomas 10 run (pass failed)
DCA - Turner 29 run (Ducharme kick)
DCA - Jon Lewis 14 run (Ducharme kick)
MJCA - Montrell Walker 75 return of blocked field goal (Carter Branim kick)
DCA - Howell 41 pass from Kelley (Ducharme kick)