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CCA football advances to title game

The return of football to Chilton Christian Academy has been a grand success.

The Patriots are one win away from a championship after defeating Conecuh Springs Christian School 24-16 in the semifinals of the Christian Football Association’s six-man division on Oct. 26.

Winning a championship did not appear in the cards for CCA at the start of the season, as there was much uncertainty surrounding the program after not fielding a team in 2017.

However, CCA quickly turned that uncertainty into confidence and the questions into expectations.

The Patriots opened the scoring in the first quarter with an interception return for a touchdown by Joseph Bracken.

CCA remained on top 8-0 until Conecuh Springs finally broke through the stingy Patriot defense with a pair of third-quarter scores.

“Both teams had really good defenses,” CCA head coach David Reiter said.

It had been three weeks since the Patriots ended the regular season.

“Our guys were a little rusty,” Reiter said.

However, with Conecuh Springs leading 16-8 with about three minutes left in the game, CCA mounted a furious comeback with a pair of touchdowns in the waning moments.

“I was able to call some timeouts and manage the clock,” Reiter said.

Brandon Reiter tied the game with a touchdown, and the defense forced a quick stop and gave the ball back to its offense with 30 seconds to go.

Despite the game being tied, CCA needed a touchdown to advance, due to Conecuh Springs having the tiebreaker advantage following a 16-12 victory in the first meeting between the teams on Sept. 21.

The CCA offense converted a fourth and 12 for the game-winning touchdown with three seconds left on the clock.

Zach Thomas picked off his second pass of the contest to secure the victory and punch the Patriots’ ticket to the title game.

CCA intercepted five passes in the game.

According to Reiter, the play of the secondary has made great strides of improvement since early season struggles.

“I didn’t expect miracles at the beginning of the year, but we’ve just continued to grow as a team,” Reiter said.

The Patriots will face Victory Christian Academy-Millbrook at the home field of Clay County Christian in Ashland on Nov. 2 at 7 p.m.

Victory-Millbrook is undefeated and beat CCA 52-0 on Aug. 31.

“It’s going to be a hard game,” Reiter said. “We have to remember our fundamentals.”

There has been new life pumped into the CCA football program this season and not just with the play on the field, as the school has built a field house in an effort to improve its facilities.