CCA mauls Eagles, 48-12, advances to second round
The number 1 seed Crenshaw Christian Academy Cougars ended the season of the number 4 seed Sumter Academy Eagles last Friday night in a 48-12 beat down in front of an excited Cougar crowd. Sumter put up a fight early, but was eventually overrun by the Cougars’ experience, size and speed. Crenshaw tallied 456 yards of offense in their first playoff game. Nick “Lightning” Kilpatrick slashed and gashed his way to 127 yards on 12 carries with two TDs and Jake “Thunder” Page punished the Eagle defense, accumulating 97 yards on 13 carries and two TDs. CCA’s quickly developing aerial assault once again proved a lethal combination with their always consistent rushing attack. Quarterback Corey Green completed 8 out of 11 passes for 154 yards with one TD and one interception. Weston Byrd reeled in 4 of those passes for 81 yards.
The Cougars received the opening kickoff and quickly went to work. Senior quarterback Green dropped back in the pocket and delivered a strike to Jake Page for 29 yards to get the drive going. With 11:17 left in the opening quarter, Page took a handoff from Green, bounced to the right side of the line and darted around 2 linebackers and a safety for a 17 yard TD run. Michael “Thriller” Jackson nailed the PAT, and CCA raced out to a 7-0 lead.
On Sumter’s first possession, junior James Lester pounced on a fumble caused by a bad handoff exchange in the Eagle backfield. The recovery set CCA up at the Sumter 20 yard line. The Cougars shoved the ball forward to the one yard line where Corey Green took it in himself for the Cougar TD. Jackson again split the uprights, and with 8:17 left in the 1st, CCA had a 14-0 lead.
Sumter got the ball back and slowly began moving the ball down the field. With 4:14 left in the 1st quarter, the Eagle quarterback rolled out of the pocket and fired a pass along the visitor sideline. The receiver made a beautiful acrobatic catch along the sideline to haul in the pass, but that receiver happened to be CCA’s Jake Page. The interception by Page ended a good drive by the Eagles and set the Cougars up at the CCA 30 yard line.
On the next drive, Corey Green made a rare mistake. On a pass play, Green found himself under much duress and rolled away from the pressure. He couldn’t escape and hurled the ball downfield as he was being sacked. The ball found its way to an Eagle defender and gave Sumter the ball back at the CCA 37 yard line. Sumter capitalized on the field position and scored with 56 seconds remaining in the 1st. A 2 point attempt failed and CCA led 14-6.
CCA was forced to punt on their next possession, and Sumter came alive. With the newfound momentum of a score and a defensive stop, the Eagles came out on fire and ready to strike. Strike they did on a 75 yard TD run with 8:47 remaining in the 2nd quarter to cut the lead to 14-12. The score remained that way after another failed 2 point attempt.
The game’s most pivotal play came on CCA’s next possession as the Blue Cat’s tried to weather the storm and regain their composure. When faces with a 4th and 11 at the Eagle 41 yard line, Coach Roland Jones showed faith in his offense and decided to go for it. Corey Green hung a beautiful fade pass up in the air near the ten yard line and Weston Byrd went up and got it for a 35 yard pass and catch to the Sumter 6 yard line. That play completely changed the dynamic of the game and it was all Cougars after that. Page scored on the next play from 6 yards out, and CCA’s 2 point conversion attempt was good, giving the Cougar’s a 22-12 lead.
CCA forced a stop on Sumter’s next possession and continued the assault, moving the ball down the field. With 1:47 left in the half, Nick Kilpatrick scored from 10 yards out. Jackson hit the PAT and CCA stretched the lead to 29-12. Another bomb from Green to Byrd on CCA’s next possession set the Cougars up at the Sumter 27 yard line. Green then found Garrett Cross for the 27 yard TD pass and catch with only 18 seconds remaining in the half. Jackson nailed the PAT, and CCA had blown the game open, taking a 36-12 lead into the locker room.
Early in the 3rd quarter, Kilpatrick added another long nail into Sumter’s season, scoring on an electrifying 46 yard TD run. Jackson proved you can’t hit EVERY kick and finally missed one, leaving the score 42-12. After a pair of interceptions late in the game by Garrett Cross, Michael D’arville snuck in the game’s last TD from 1 yard out with 4:09 remaining in the game. CCA knelt the ball on the PAT, and the game ended in a 48-12 victory for the Cougars.
After last season, this victory was especially sweet for the Cougar players and coaching staff, but there is a long way yet to go. Tomorrow night will see the Cougars host the defending 1A state champions in the South Choctaw Academy Rebels. South Choctaw embarrassed Ashford last week in their first round playoff game by a score of 41-14. The Rebels finished the season 9-2 and will be the first quality opponent CCA has faced in some time. Bring your combat boots and helmets, folks, because this one is going to be a war.
Kickoff at Cougar Stadium is set 7:00 p.m.