CCA breaks through to state final in 6-man division

Published 10:37 am Tuesday, October 25, 2022

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By Carey Reeder | Staff Writer

In 2021, Chilton Christian Academy made the Alabama Christian 6-man state playoffs. The Patriots fell 55-20 in the semifinals to Clay County Christian Academy. On Oct. 20 in 2022, CCA righted its wrongs from a year before thrashing Marshall Christian Academy 59-9 to advance to the 2022 Alabama Christian 6-man state final. The Patriots take on the winner of Pineview Christian Academy and Conecuh Springs Christian Academy who play their semifinal on Oct. 27. The state championship will be held on Nov. 3 at Cahawba Christian Academy at 6:30 p.m.

“It means a lot to play for a state title,” Chilton Christian coach Jay Norcross said. “This year, these seniors knew that it was their goal just to get there, and you can tell from day one of practice that is all they talked about. This time, we did not just knock on the door, we just knocked it down.”

CCA had not played in three weeks before the semifinal, but the Patriots showed no rust early on. Mason McCary returned the opening kickoff of the game 72 yards for a touchdown to give CCA the early lead. After a stop on defense, CCA got on the board again connecting on a long pass to stretch its lead to 13-0.

Marshall Christian drove down the field for a touchdown on its ensuing drive, and after a bad snap from CCA led to a safety the score sat at 13-9. Jay Norcross called a timeout, and talked over the situation with his team.

“The guys said this is not going to happen, and that was it,” Jay Norcross said. “They stepped up, and that was great.”

From there, it was all Patriots scoring 46 unanswered points behind an impressive passing performance by quarterbacks Tucker Easterling and Donovin Norcross. Donovin Norcross went 2-for-3 passing for 75 yards, and both of his completions went for touchdowns. Easterling was 5-for-6 passing for 110 yards, two touchdowns and posted a 163.2 quarterback rating, which is deemed perfect according to the NFL model.

Donovin Norcross added 67 yards rushing on six carries and three touchdowns to his totals on the ground, and recorded 20 tackles, two fumble recoveries and one interception for the Patriot’s defense.

CCA relied more heavily on running the ball at the beginning of the season, and in the last two games the passing game has become very potent.

“That is what we were wanting to do since day one, and now we have it going at the very end of the year,” Jay Norcross said. “No matter who we are playing we have both ways to play, and I hope the boys understand that.”

McCary was the favorite target of both CCA quarterbacks hauling in six catches for 168 yards and four touchdowns. He added 31 yards rushing on the ground to help the Patriots pile up 287 total yards of offense against Marshall.

Jay Norcross said David Villegas was a powerful force on the Patriots defense. The senior, who was playing in his last game on the CCA field like Donovin Norcross, Easterling and McCary, recorded 13 tackles, three sacks and recovered a fumble. Conner Bice had nine tackles and a sack.

“The drive they had, and knowing we have been so close the last couple of years it was all or nothing,” Jay Norcross said. “They took care of business.”

He added that CCA will work on perfecting the fundamentals, and continue to round into solid form in the buildup to the state championship game on Nov. 3.