Patriots in football state title game

Published 8:08 pm Thursday, November 3, 2011

Chilton Christian Academy’s 6-man football team will play in a state championship game Friday, a fact that the Patriots have yet to fully comprehend, coach Todd Stephens said.

Small wonder. Being a first-year program in a first-year league, the players and fans don’t know what to expect.

Stephens has an idea, though, after being involved with three basketball state title events.

“I think all the guys don’t really know exactly what it is,” he said. “You kind of hear a little buzz here and there. The younger guys, it’s kind of surreal. They don’t really understand yet.

“When we step on that field Friday, they’re going to realize that this is for all the marbles.”

The Patriots (7-2) will play Marion Academy at 6:30 p.m. at Brooklane Baptist Academy in Hueytown.

Marion topped previously unbeaten Trinity, 44-35, in the other semifinal game.

Stephens said the game may hinge on whether the CCA defense plays as a unit, like it did during the teams’ six-game winning streak and in last week’s win over Conecuh Springs, not allowing a single point in the last 13 minutes of the game.

But the defense was slack in a 53-38 loss to Marion in the last week of the regular season.

“The season was winding down, we had a fall break and an off week,” Stephens said. “It just took us a little time to get back in focus and remember what our goal was. They want to bring home the trophy.”

Stephens said the Patriots will also spend a good part of the week focusing on the kicking game.

“We’re going to be ready on special teams,” he said. “That’s where momentum shifts in 6-man.

“It’s going to be an extreme game of focus. I think this game will be our peak.”

Who will win?

Marion has been the hottest team in the Christian Football Association at the end of the season and beginning of the playoffs. But a letdown could be possible over last week’s emotional win over Trinity, who had yet to suffer a loss. If Marion comes out flat, Chilton Christian Academy will have to take advantage and build an early lead—and then not let Marion not catch up.

Pick: Chilton Christian | Picks record: 52-17

Also Friday night

Isabella (6-4) at Leroy (6-4)

The 2011 season hasn’t gone smoothly for Leroy, the defending state champions, in coach Johnny Wright’s first season. The Bears have lost four games—as many as Isabella—but Leroy lost two games to teams in classes 3A and 4A, and the other two losses were to quality opponents. Isabella should keep it close, but give Leroy the edge because of homefield advantage. Pick: Leroy

McIntosh (5-5) at Maplesville (10-0)

McIntosh finished with a .500 record and finished fourth in their region, but the Demons limped into the playoffs, losing five of their last six games. Maplesville, meanwhile, has been sharp all season. The Red Devils won each game this season by at least three touchdowns. Don’t look for them to slow down any this week. Pick: Maplesville