HomeSportsLions prepare for road trip to Nashville Christian in state quarterfinals

Lions prepare for road trip to Nashville Christian in state quarterfinals

Having completed his 12th season leading the football program at Trinity Christian Academy, Blake Butler has charted these waters before.

Fielding a young team without a lot of players with a lot of experience playing on Friday nights, there have been some growing pains along the way to a 4-6 regular season record and a third-place finish in Division II-A West region.

“On one side of that, there is adversity there to work through as these young guys are going through the process of gaining experience and learning how to play varsity high school football,” Butler said. “But on the other side of that is seeing these guys mature and grow as players and as young men because of the things they learn to do for the good of the team.”

Butler said an example of that are two seniors, Will Keltner and Marshall Ray. Both spent the majority of their younger years at TCA lining up at tight end, but because the front line lost a lot to graduation last year, Butler said both players volunteered to move up to the line because that was one area of the team that needed help and experience.

“They had to learn all of our blocking schemes instead of the part of it the tight end is involved in, but they volunteered for it and have helped this team in a big way all season,” Butler said. “And our offense has shown improvement throughout the season, and their work is a big reason why.”

After starting the season losing four of their first five games, the Lions have won four of six, including three region wins and last week’s first-round win at The King’s Academy 24-20.

The competition level rises this week with a trip to Middle Region champion and perennial state championship contender Nashville Christian (8-2), who had a bye week last week because they are a region champion.

Butler said this Nashville Christian team – like most years – has an athletic quarterback that’s difficult to bring down, Mr. Football semifinalist and freshman Jared Curtis.

“It’s going to be a tough game because Nashville Christian is a good team,” Butler said. “But it’s the state quarterfinals, so we wouldn’t expect anything different.”

Kickoff is at 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast on radio at WTJK-FM 105.3 and streamed on Worthy Road Studios’ Facebook page.

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