No title, but lessons learned

Published 8:54 am Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Repeating a championship performance is a tough task in the game of football.

There are so many variables that have to work out perfectly to help a team go back-to-back, and one weak link, such as depth or experience, can ultimately end a bid to win two in a row.

Chilton Christian Academy found that out the hard way last week, losing to Marion 60-26 in the first round of the ACEA playoffs.

The Patriots were the defending champions, winning the title in their first year of fielding a team.

“It was tough,” said athletic director Todd Stephens. “We finished the season good, though.”

Stephens said the Patriots’ lack of depth came back to hurt them.

“Marion was a lot deeper,” he said. “We had a hard time keeping up. Most of their team was returning; only about half of ours was.”

It was a tough way for the road to another championship to end, but Stephens said there are already big plans in place for next season.

“We’re going to add a junior high team,” he said. “That’ll help with experience. We’re losing three seniors, and most of our younger guys have two years of experience. Our quarterback and receivers are coming back. We’ll be young, but we’ll get a lot of experience.”

As heartbreaking as the loss to Marion was, Stephens said he was impressed with how his team meshed down the stretch.

“The biggest thing [we learned] was perseverance,” he said. “The guys stuck with it and kept working. They learned if you keep grinding, it works. It helped set a precedent for next year.”