Eagles record 23rd consecutive winning season, cap 2014 with State Title

 
Cameron Mellor (@CamMellor)
January 14, 2015

 

Much like years past, the Northside Eagles continued their winning ways in 2014. What they did differently in 2014 however, was return to the State Championship game for the first time since 2009.

 

The Eagles made the most of their Championship game appearance, knocking off Mays High School in ar hard fought, instant classic, 25-18.

 

With their most recent successful season, Northside has now finished each season since 1998 with double-digit victories. Coach Kevin Kinsler has won 10 or more games in each of his five seasons at the helm and the program itself has recorded 23 consecutive winning seasons, dating back to 1992.

 

Senior running back Willie Jordan paced the Eagles in 2014 during their championship run. Jordan averaged just under 150 rushing yards a game (149.7) and a whopping 7.0 yards per carry.

 

The 6-foot-1, 225-pound running back also tied for the team-high in receptions (15) and receiving touchdowns (2). Jordan’s 2470 total all-purpose were more than twice as much as the next closest on the team, quarterback Tobias Oliver (921).

 

When Jordan got things going, the Eagles flourished in 2014. Against Richmond Academy mid-way through the season, he rushed for 266 yards and three touchdowns, two of which came during the fourth quarter of the Eagles 24-7 victory.

 

Jordan followed his performance against Richmond Academy with his second highest rushing total a week later. Against rival Warner Robins, Jordan rushed the ball 34 times for 249 yards and one score. It was however, nine of his carries that would be crucial in the Eagles holding off the Demons in their annual rivalry game, 24-21.

 

With just over eight minutes remaining and Northside up by just three points, the Eagles were in need of some clock management. Who else to turn to but Jordan.

 

The bruising running back rushed nine times over the final two drives to help Northside chew up nearly six minutes before the defense clamped the door on Warner Robins.

 

Jordan and Oliver would lead the team down the stretch of the regular season, finishing the year with a 9-1 record, having shut out two opponents (Greenbrier, 55-0; Cross Creek, 51-0). Their lone blemish in 2014 came at the hands of a week four 45-37 loss to Jones County.

 

The Eagles cruised in to the GHSA AAAAA Playoffs, handling the Patriots from Northside High School, 48-0 in the first round. A back-and-forth game against Dalton in round two saw Oliver put the proverbial 'nail in the coffin' on a 1-yard touchdown run with under a minute remaining, giving the Eagles a 30-21 victory.

 

Northside then defeated Glynn Academy, 31-7 before squaring off against Allatoona in the state semifinals. The Eagles built a 20-point lead over the Buccaneers before a furious fourth quarter that saw Allatoona jump back into the game behind two Conner Larson touchdown passes. A late 23-yard field goal by Justin Alonso however, put the game out of reach by a familiar score, 30-21.

 

In the GHSA AAAAA State Championship game, Northside would square off against Mays High School, winners of eight straight games and who had knocked Jones County, the Eagles lone imperfection, out of the playoffs.

 

The 2014 Championship game started off well for Northside as Jayllen Kendrick intercepted a Asahnia Aderhold pass and returned it for a touchdown and seven points.

 

Those, however, would turn out to be the lone points the Eagles would score in the first half as Aderhold would throw three touchdowns, two to Randrecous Davis, and an 18-7 lead at halftime.

 

A different Northside defense would take the field in the second half. A defense that would hold the Raiders to just 28 offensive plays, 125 offensive yards and a missed field goal over the final two quarters. The Eagles offense however scored both on quick strikes and a slow, methodical drive.

 

Their first score of the second half came on a one-play drive, a 70-yard Oliver to Nate Greene scoring connection. Their second score of the half came after an 11-play drive that spanned 55 yards and chewed over six minutes on the clock, ending with a 32-yard Alonso kick to cut into the Raiders lead, 18-17.

 

After forcing three straight Aderhold incompletions, the Eagles needed just three plays before Oliver would scurry for 47 yards and the go-ahead touchdown. A two-point conversion put Northside up by a touchdown at 25-18.

 

The defense would shut down Mays on their last three consecutive drives in the fourth quarter, holding on to the lead and giving coach Kinsler his first State Championship at Northside and the school’s first State Championship since 2007.

 

 

 

Jordan was named the Georgia AAAAA Offensive player of the year while coach Kinsler was named the Coach of the year. Jordan and offensive lineman Brandon Sandifer were named to the Georgia AAAAA All-State team while linebacker Kam Burnett was nabbed as Honorable Mention on the All-State list.

 

Despite losing Jordan, the Eagles will return rising-junior Oliver and a host of other players this coming fall. That would lead one to believe that Northside’s 23-straight winning seasons very well may jump to 24 as they look to defend their State Championship in 2015.

 

Offensive stat leaders

Rushing: Willie Jordan (2246 yards)

Passing: Tobias Oliver (1327 yards)

Receiving: Nate Greene (316 yards)

All-Purpose: Willie Jordan (2470 yards)

Touchdowns: Willie Jordan (33)

Rush attempts: Willie Jordan (322 carries)

Receptions: Two tied (15 catches)

 

Defensive stat leaders

Total Tackles: Tae Daley (66)

Tackles for loss: Isaiah Johnson (13)

Sacks: Tyree Williams (4)

Interceptions: Rakwon Young (5)

Forced fumbles: Josh Vickers (4)

 

Team statistics

Total scoring: 552 points

Total offense: 6261 yards

Total rushing yards: 4869 yards

Total passing yards: 1392 yards

Third down conversions: 44.1% (75/170)

Turnover Differential: +14 (15 INT, 12 FR)

CFB National Championship well represented with Digital Scout talent

 
Cameron Mellor (@CamMellor)
January 13, 2015

 

Fans of college football were treated to an incredible year during the 2014-15 season. From August all the way until the season's culminating game this past Monday evening, there was a little bit of everything this year.

 

In the first ever College Football Playoff, the Ohio State Buckeyes squared off against the Oregon Ducks. Two teams loaded with speed, talent and athletes from all over the country met in Dallas' AT&T Stadium. 

 

Ohio State defeated the Ducks by a score of 42-20 with a some help from youthful players on their team.

 

Upon further researching, we here at Digital Scout found that combined, Oregon and Ohio State totaled 32 athletes that played their high school ball for a team that utilized Digital Scout's stat-tracking software at one point or another. From Georgia to Ohio and Texas to California, we present our list of Digital Scout alumni who took part in the first ever CFP National Championship Game:

 

 

From Ohio State, 26 athletes:

(Players with available Digital Scout player profile pages are highlighted, click to view)

 

No. 2 - Dontre Wilson, RB, Sophomore, DeSoto High School, Texas

18 attempts, 100 yards; 21 receptions, 300 yards, 3 touchdowns

 

No. 11 - Vonn Bell, DB, Sophomore, Ridgeland High School, Georgia

91 total tackles, 56 solo, 35 assisted, 6 interceptions, 6 passes defended

 

No. 12 - Doran Grant, CB, Senior, St. Vincent-St. Mary High School, Ohio

64 total tackles, 50 solo, 14 assisted, 5 interceptions, 8 passes defended

 

No. 18 - Nik Sarac, CB, Senior, St. Ignatius High School, Ohio

No statistics available

 

No. 21 - Parris Campbell, WR, Freshman, St. Vincent-St. Mary High School, Ohio

No statistics available

 

No. 23 - Tyvis Powell, S, Sophomore, Bedford High School, Ohio

67 total tackles, 45 solo, 22 assisted, 4 interceptions, 4 passes defended

 

No. 23 - Isaiah Williams, S, Freshman, Northmont High School, Ohio

No statistics available

 

No. 24 - Guy Ferrelli, TE, Freshman, Bishop Ready High School, Ohio

No statistics available

 

No. 28 - Warren Ball, RB, Sophomore, DeSales High School, Ohio

18 attempts, 85 yards

 

No. 33 - Dante Booker, LB, Freshman, St. Vincent-St. Mary High School, Ohio

7 total tackles, 2 solo, 5 assisted

 

No. 35 - Jeffie Johnson, RB, Junior, Hilliard Bradley High School, Ohio

1 attempt, 2 yards

 

No. 37 - Josh Perry, LB, Junior, Olentangy High School, Ohio

123 total tackles, 72 solo, 51 assisted, 1 interception, 2 passes defended

 

No. 38 - Craig Fada, LB, Junior, Bishop Watterson High School, Ohio

5 total tackles, 3 solo, 2 assisted

 

No. 39 - Kyle Clinton, K, Senior, Dublin Coffman High School, Ohio

3 extra points made, 3 extra points attempted

 

No. 41 - Bryce Haynes, LS, Junior, Pinecrest Academy, Georgia

No statistics available

 

No. 43 - Darron Lee, LB, Sophomore, New Albany High School, Ohio

81 total tackles, 54 solo, 27 assisted, 2 interceptions, 3 passes defended

 

No. 44 - Kyle Berger, LB, Junior, St. Ignatius High School, Ohio

No statistics available

 

No. 44 - Chris Rock, DL, Junior, DeSales High School, Ohio

No statistics available

 

No. 46 - Nick Snyder, LB, Senior, Westerville South High School, Ohio

1 total tackle, 1 assisted

 

No. 49 - Sam Hubbard, DE, Freshman, Archbishop Moeller High School, Ohio

No statistics available

 

No. 51 - Joel Hale, OL, Senior, Center Grove High School, Indiana

No statistics available

 

No. 71 - Kyle Trout, OL, Freshman, Lancaster High School, Ohio

No statistics available

 

No. 73 - Brady Taylor, OL, Freshman, Bishop Ready High School, Ohio

No statistics available

 

No. 77 - Michael Hill, DL, Freshman, Pendleton High School, South Carolina

2 total tackles, 1 solo, 1 assisted

 

No. 81 - Nick Vannett, TE, Junior, Westerville Central High School, Ohio

19 receptions, 220 yards, 5 touchdowns

 

No. 90 - Tommy Schutt, DL, Junior, Glenbard West High School, Illinois

10 total tackles, 8 solo, 2 assisted, 1 pass defended

 

 

From Oregon, six athletes:

 

No. 6 - Dominique Harrison, DB, Redshirt Senior, Tracy High School, California

2 total tackles, 2 solo

 

No. 9 - Arik Armstead, DL, Junior, Pleasant Grove High School, California

47 total tackles, 26 solo, 21 assisted

 

No. 27 - Jeff Bieber, WR, Freshman, Sunset High School, Oregon

No statistics available

 

No. 37 - Michael Manns, DB, Redshirt Sophomore, Molalla High School, Oregon

1 total tackle, 1 assisted

 

No. 60 - Jim Weber, OL, Freshman, Southridge High School, Oregon

No statistics available

 

No. 81 - Evan Baylis, TE, Redshirt Sophomore, Grandview High School, Colorado

15 receptions, 143 yards, 1 touchdown

Same game, same opponent, same result – the Rams defend their State Title in 2014

 
Cameron Mellor (@CamMellor)
January 12, 2015

 

Successfully defending their state title in 2014, the New Canaan Rams were crowned the Connecticut Class L Large State Champions, defeating Darien High School by a score of 21-20 this past December.

 

For the second consecutive year, the Rams defeated their archrival Blue Wave to become State Champions.

 

For the second consecutive season, the Rams exacted revenge on a Darien team that was the lone blemish on their record.

 

The Rams seemingly cruised through their first nine games of the season, outscoring their first nine opponents by a combined score of 346-107. New Canaan defeated all but one of their first nine opponents (21-14 victory over Daniel Hand) by two or more possessions.

 

Darien had also dominated the opposition during their first nine contests of the season. Similar to their archrival Rams, the Blue Wave had outscored their first nine opponents by a combined margin of 390-119. They had also defeated all but two of their first nine opponents by two or more possessions.

 

This dominance by the two programs set up for one of the more intriguing matchups not only in the northeast, but across the country – the annual Turkey Bowl – a Thanksgiving matchup between Darien and New Canaan.

 

Dating back to 1928, the Blue Wave and Rams have squared off against one another, nearly every year. New Canaan and Darien have played 88 times since '28, as the Rams hold a 50-36-2 advantage in the all-time meetings. 

 

Since the 1994 season, their annual meeting on Thanksgiving morning has been deemed as the Turkey Bowl with the coveted Coaches Memorial Trophy on the line. More often than not, the two cross-town rivals play with the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference (FCIAC) Championship on the line.

 

Senior running back Frank Cognetta

 

In the 2014 version of the Turkey Bowl, the Rams, led by quarterback Mike Collins, entered the final game of the regular season riding an 11-game winning streak. Their last loss had been at the hands of Darien in the 2013 installment of the Turkey Bowl.

 

Darien entered the game on a comparable 9-game winning streak, losing their last matchup in the 2013 Class L State Championship to the Rams.

 

The Rams and Blue Wave met on Thanksgiving morning, the Blue Wave exacting revenge from their last defeat, knocking the Rams from the ranks of the unbeaten with a 28-21 victory. Darien weathered an early 21-0 lead by New Canaan and Collins, before scoring 28 unanswered points, the last seven coming in overtime, to defeat the Rams.

 

The Blue Wave defense shut down the New Canaan rushing attack in the second half after allowing three Collins TD passes in the first. Peter Archey ran for two scores in the second half to tie the game before Hudson Hamill hit Griffin Ross for six yards and the game-winning touchdown in overtime.

 

With the win, Darien would be crowned the FCIAC Champions of 2014 and advanced to the Class L State Championship tournament at 10-0 and the No. 1 seed. New Canaan dropped to 9-1 and were the No. 2 seed of the tournament.

 

After each team would handle their first opponents, for the second season in a row, the Rams and Blue Wave would meet in the Class L State Championship Game.

 

Similar to the year prior, New Canaan would have the last laugh by defeating Darien, 21-20 for their second consecutive State Championship.

 

Exactly like their first matchup of 2014, Collins would hit Michael Kraus in the first quarter to give the Rams a 7-0 early lead. However, different from their first matchup, Darien would rattle off 20 unanswered points in the first half to take a 20-7 lead at halftime. A point after touchdown attempt would prove to be crucial in the waning moments as Hamill was unable to rush in a 2-point conversion following the Blue Wave’s third score of the first half, giving Darien a 13-point lead.

 

New Canaan would enter the second half firing on all cylinders, capping a 14-play opening drive with Collins’ second touchdown toss of the game, this one 17 yards to Kyle Smith. Collins finished the impressive drive completing 7-of-11 pass attempts for 75 yards and the touchdown.

 

After an interception from each side, Collins would lead the Rams on another impressive drive. After a Darien punt, Collins led New Canaan on a 12-play drive that gained 70 yards.

 

The junior quarterback capped the drive by hitting senior receiver Alex LaPolice for 24 yards and the game-tying touchdown. On the drive, Collins went 8-of-9 for 71 yards and his third touchdown of the game. A Peter Swindell extra point would prove to be the most important kick of the season as it would ultimately be the game-winning point as the Rams would hold off Darien by a score of 21-20.

 

Exacting revenge on their biggest rival, on the biggest stage is seemingly becoming the norm for New Canaan as the 2014 Class L State Championship marked the second consecutive year the Rams had lost to Darien in the regular season, but knocked off their rivals in the season’s culminating game.

 

The victory marked the 10th championship for head coach Lou Marinelli.

 

 

Collins finished the game throwing for 259 yards on 25-40 passing and three touchdowns. Michael Cognetta recorded two interceptions for the Rams and Kraus’ fumble recovery in the game’s closing moments were three of the five takeaways that aided New Canaan’s triumph.

 

Upon completion of the Class L State Championship game, the postseason awards began piling up for the Rams. Defensive end and Northwestern pledge Zach Allen was named the Gatorade 2014 Connecticut Player of the Year. Allen and Harvard commit LaPolice were also named to the Walter Camp Connecticut All-Star football team.

 

2014 Gatorade Connecticut Player of the Year - Zach Allen

 

The Rams placed eight players on the All-FCIAC First Team, including Allen and LaPolice, who were joined by Collins, Kraus, James Keneally, Lucas Niang, Sterling O’Hara and Malaki Holan.

 

Allen, LaPolice and Niang were also named to the All-State First Team while Keneally, O’Hara, Kraus and Collins were nabbed as All-State Second Team.

 

Collins, a first-year starter in 2014, will lead the Rams on the field in hopes of defending their second consecutive State Championship in 2015. The senior, along with Mike Cognetta, Cass Knox and Gardner Read were named as the co-captains for the 2015 season during the team’s banquet in late December.

 

With Collins leading the team again we know that we will see Darien-New Canaan on Thanksgiving all the way in November this year. Time will only tell if, once again, we will be treated with a Darien-New Canaan classic for the Class L State Championship in 2015.

 

Offensive stat leaders

Rushing: Frank Cognetta (680 yards)

Passing: Mike Collins (2623 yards)

Receiving: Kyle Smith (727 yards)

All-Purpose: Alex LaPolice (1366 yards)

Touchdowns: Alex LaPolice (19)

Rush attempts: Frank Cognetta (161 carries)

Receptions: Alex LaPolice (40 catches)

 

Defensive stat leaders

Sacks: Zach Allen (12)

Interceptions: Michael Kraus (6)

 

Team statistics

Total scoring: 415 points

Total offense: 4394 yards

Total rushing yards: 1552 yards

Total passing yards: 2842 yards

Third down conversions: 35.7% (51/143)

Turnover Differential: +16 (22 INT, 9 FR)

 

One of the country's elite – the Zebras – return to glory in '14

 
Cameron Mellor (@CamMellor)
January 9, 2015

 

 

One of the all-time winningest high school football programs from across the entire country marched their way back to prominence in 2014. Pushing their all-time winning total to 768 games, the Pine Bluff Zebras capped their 2014 season with their first Arkansas State Championship since 1995.

 

Pine Bluff finished the season 10-3 and won the school’s 22nd State Championship, a year removed from losing, 31-24 to El Dorado in the 2013 Championship game.

 

When the Zebras won in 2014, they won big. In their 10 victories from a year ago, their closest margin of defeat was a mere 11 points. All nine other victories came by margins of 19 points or greater and four of their victories were by 33 or more, including their State Championship triumph over Benton High School.

 

A rematch of the final week of the regular season pit the Panthers against the Zebras for the 6A Arkansas State Championship, as Pine Bluff would run away with the title by a score of 51-0.

 

In their first meeting however, Benton escaped with a 39-36 victory on a 42-yard field goal by Grant Hinze as time expired.

 

The two teams were seemingly even at every point in their first matchup. When Benton seemed close to pulling away with the game, taking a 28-14 lead right before halftime, Pine Bluff answered with 0:21 seconds remaining to close the gap to 28-22.

 

When the Panthers grabbed a quick 36-22 lead midway through the third, the Zebras stormed back and evened the game at 36 on two Kenan Brown touchdown passes. However, unlike their eventual Championship matchup, Benton got the better of the Pine Bluff defense on the final possession of the game, giving Hintze the chance for his game-winning field goal.

 

The Zebras entered the playoffs with a chip on their shoulder, despite being granted a bye week to open round one. They would dismantle Siloam Springs in round two, 41-7 before squaring off against Jonesboro in the semifinals.

 

Despite an early 3-0 lead by the Hurricane, Pine Bluff would score 22 points in the first quarter, and allow Jonesboro no closer than four points for the remainder of the game. The Zebras added a late fourth quarter touchdown that put the game out of reach, and pushed them into the State Championship game with a 35-24 victory.

 

Benton would await the Zebras in their 70th all-time playoff game, with the Championship on the line.

 

The first quarter of the 6A Championship game would be much like the first meeting between Benton and Pine Bluff. Both teams took turns with the lead, before Pine Bluff would score again and end the quarter with a 12-7 advantage. The similarities with the first game would end in that quarter, as the Zebras defense stymied the Panthers in the second quarter and took a 20-7 lead at halftime.

 

Despite a Hinze field goal to cut the lead to 20-10 for Benton, Pine Bluff’s defense would hold strong and their offense would put on a show the rest of the way.

 

Romar Reades would hit the end zone just moments after the Hinze field goal. Junior quarterback Ladarius Skelton threw a 62-yard pass to Kyran Simmons for another touchdown in the third quarter to put the Zebras up 32-10 with just one quarter left.

 

Skelton would toss a short 2-yard touchdown to Kacy Higgins early in the fourth quarter and then hit the other Simmons, Tyran Simmons for a 30-yard score to put the game out of reach at 44-10 with just 5:31 left on the clock.

 

The Zebra defense would get in on the scoring themselves as John Tate picked up a Panther fumble and returned it 31 yards for the ‘scoop and score’ to end the onslaught, and push the lead to 51-10, where it would stand.

 

Pine Bluff outgained Benton in the Championship game, 523 total yards to 346. The Panthers were hurt in the game by mental mistakes, recording 12 penalties for 126 yards.

 

Their avenging defeat of Benton capped off a remarkable run in 2014. A run that brought the Zebras back to the forefront of the discussion of top team in Arkansas.

 

The Zebra’s class of 2015 can take solace in the fact that they brought the Championship trophy back to Pine Bluff for the first time in 19 years.

 

Offensive stat leaders

Rushing: Ladarius Skelton (1125 yards)

Passing: Ladarius Skelton (1838 yards)

Receiving: Kyran Simmons (805 yards)

All-Purpose: Ladarius Skelton (1151 yards)

Touchdowns: Ladarius Skelton (19)

Rush attempts: Ladarius Skelton (168 carries)

Receptions: Kyran Simmons (45 catches)

 

Defensive stat leaders

Total tackles: Keshawn Whaley (99)

Tackles for loss: Malik Isaiah (11)

Sacks: John Tate (4)

Interceptions: David Beasley (4)

Pass break-ups: Jayshon Williams (29)

 

Team statistics

Total scoring: 499 points

Total offense: 5219 yards

Total rushing yards: 3186 yards

Total passing yards: 2033 yards

Third down conversions: 42.4% (56/132)

Turnover Differential: +13 (12 INT, 11 FR)

 

Beasley, Tate and Brandon Shepherd were named to the Arkansas 6A South All-State team.

Resilient season leads Flyers to second Championship in three years

 
Cameron Mellor (@CamMellor)
January 7, 2015

 

 

As the old saying goes – ‘revenge is a dish best served cold.’

 

The Dixie High School Flyers certainly served up their best revenge dishes and more in 2014, en route to their second 3AA State Championship in the last three years.

 

The Flyers rallied off eight straight victories to end the year, two of them in the playoffs, against a team whom they had lost to earlier in the season.

 

To get there, let's start at the top.

 

The Flyers entered the 2014 season on the heels of an impressive campaign a season prior that saw Dixie enter the 3AA semifinals. Behind senior quarterback Ammon Takau, the Flyers began this past fall primed to head back, not only in to the playoffs, but possibly even regaining the 3AA Title they had won in 2012.

 

The beginning of the 2014 season however, would begin in surprising fashion. A 37-30 loss to Springville on a late 4th quarter TD sparked a 0-1 start for the Flyers.

 

Dixie needed double overtime and a great defensive stop to defeat Lehi in week two, 49-48. After scoring in the bottom half of the second overtime, the Pioneers went for a two-point conversion to win the game, but rather were stopped by Dixie, giving the Flyers a one-point victory.

 

After a loss to the bigger, higher classified, 5A Riverton Silverwolves, 62-28, the Flyers did get back to their winning ways against Canyon View. A 55-30 defeat of the Falcons pushed Dixie’s record back to an even 2-2.

 

However, the back-and-forth of wins and losses would stop right there.

 

Dixie would allow 42 points to BYU commit, quarterback Kody Wilstead and the Pine View Panthers. Despite scoring 36 of their own, the Flyers feel by eight points when the defense couldn’t get Wilstead and the Panthers off the field for the final 4:10 of the game.

 

In their next game, against Hurricane, and even though Dixie led 7-0 at one point, the Tigers would rattle off 34 unanswered points to end the first half and put the game out of reach. Dixie dropped their matchup with Hurricane, 34-14.

 

Sitting at 2-4 and nearly on the outside looking in at a playoff spot, the Flyers – behind Takau and their defense – stormed through the remaining regular season games, outscoring their five opponents by a margin of 214-62.

 

After a 1-point victory over Desert Hills, 17-16, Dixie notched four consecutive 32 or more point victories. A 56-14 defeat of Payson, a 42-10 victory over Cedar City, a first half onslaught against Snow Canyon, 44-14 and finally a 55-8 offensive display against Uintah.

 

Enter the playoffs for Dixie, after five consecutive wins, who sat at 7-4. They would draw a first round matchup against Stansbury High School who entered play at 9-1 and on a similar tear. The Stallions would start fast and score often, notching the first 14 points of the game.

 

Despite Dixie tying the game at 14 points apiece, Stansbury would continue to fire on offense and defense, scoring 28 straight points in the 2nd and 3rd quarters.

 

With just over a 16 minutes left in the game, the Stallions led 42-14 and were almost checking their phones to see who they would play next. Dixie had other plans however.

 

Takau would hit Jaden Harrison for 32 yards on the last play of the third quarter to cut the deficit to 21 points. After a quick three and out to start the fourth quarter, Takau would hit Bret Barben for another TD and closed the gap to 42-28.

 

Two more three and outs for the Stansbury offense would make way for two Trenton Miller touchdowns and a tie ball game at 42 with just over seven minutes left to play.

 

The Stansbury offense would sputter again on their next possession, gaining their only first down by means of a Dixie penalty and forced to punt back to the red-hot Flyer offense. It would be three plays later that Miller would score his third rushing touchdown of the quarter and the final points of a 28-point fourth quarter comeback effort to give Dixie a 49-42 lead.

 

Their defense would hold the Stallion offense yet again and the miraculous comeback was complete.

 

Up next for the Flyers would be rematch number one, against Pine View. The same Panthers team that defeated Dixie just six weeks prior would fall short as the Flyers avenged their previous defeat. This game would be similar to the first, with four ties during the game, however the Dixie defense would shut down Wilstead and the Panthers in the fourth quarter.

 

Dixie would hold PVHS to just 78 yards in the final quarter and intercept Wilstead before hitting a field goal that secured the 38-28 victory.

 

The Championship game loomed, as did another familiar foe. Hurricane having an up and down year themselves, entered the playoffs losers of three of their final four regular season games. After a close 17-14 win over Desert Hills in the semifinals, the Tigers would prove no match for the Flyers, falling 27-19 in the grudge match against Dixie.

 

The Flyers jumped out to a 14-6 halftime lead and didn’t look back. Despite a 13-point fourth quarter, Dixie held the Tigers at bay just enough to secure their second consecutive retaliation against a team who defeated them in the regular season as well as their second state championship in three years.

 

Following their State Championship victory, the Flyers were greeted with an impromptu celebration at their home stadium. Head coach Blaine Monkres addressed the fans and his team by crediting the determination and resilience his team showed in 2014.

 

Takau was selected as the 3AA MVP for the 2014 while Barben, offensive lineman Jaxon Davis, defensive lineman Jeff Martinez, defensive back Jaden Harrison and kicker McLane Keenan were selected to the 3A All-State First Team.

 

Miller and RJ Wilgar were selected as 3A Second Team All-State while offensive lineman Blake Patterson was named Honorable Mention.

 

As their coach put it, the Flyers were a resilient bunch in 2014 and their hard work and dedication paid off with an impressive 28-point comeback, two avenging victories in the playoffs and the ultimate goal – the 3AA State Championship.

 

Offensive stat leaders

Rushing: Trenton Miller (1457 yards)

Passing: Ammon Takau (2418 yards)

Receiving: Bret Barben (835 yards)

All-Purpose: Trenton Miller (2214 yards)

Touchdowns: Trenton Miller (22)

Rush attempts: Trenton Miller (166 carries)

Receptions: Bret Barben (55 catches)

 

Defensive stat leaders

Total tackles: Jeff Martinez (86.5)

Tackles for loss: Jeff Martinez (15.5)

Sacks: Jeff Martinez (6.5)

Interceptions: RJ Wilgar (4)

Pass break-ups: Jaden Harrison (15)

 

Team statistics

Total scoring: 540 points

Total offense: 5767 yards

Total rushing yards: 3045 yards

Total passing yards: 2722 yards

Third down conversions: 32.2% (47/146)

Turnover Differential: +14 (15 INT, 14 FR)

Tigers defend their State Championship amid a wild ride in 2014

 
Cameron Mellor (@CamMellor)
January 5, 2015

 

 

 

We focus on Bentonville High School.

 

The date is December 6, 2014, say around 2:30-ish.

 

The location is War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock, Arkansas.

 

The opponent is Fayetteville High School.

 

The defending 7A State Champion Tigers, trailing 21-17, face a 3rd down and 1 from the challenger’s 6-yard line with 0:33 seconds remaining in a tumultuous 2014 season’s culminating game.

 

The Tigers need not only to convert a 3rd down into a 1st down, they need a touchdown.

 

Short of hesitation, head coach Barry Lunney turns senior running back Dylan Smith loose.

 

With the season on the line, quarterback Kasey Ford takes the third down snap, turns and hands the ball off to Smith, who takes the ball to the right side of the line. Searching for room, Smith’s first choice is closed quickly by a Fayetteville defender.

 

Riding his momentum however, Smith churns the run outside the tackle box only to have that blocked off by the cornerback.

 

A quick head fake even further outside allows Smith just enough room to cut back up field, take on two Bulldog defenders head-first, before he is able to power his way to the goal and eventually extend the ball past the goal line for the go-ahead touchdown.

 

Smith’s touchdown put the defending State Champions up by a score of 24-21, a score that would hold true when senior wide receiver/cornerback Cody Scroggins would intercept a Fayetteville pass with 0:05 seconds remaining. Ford’s kneel down ran the remaining ticks off the clock and Bentonville celebrated their second consecutive State Championship, and their fifth in school history. Scroggins finished the game with two receiving touchdowns and two interceptions.

 

“I could not have written a better script of a game that could have been any better,” Lunney said following the game. “The resolve, the finish goes beyond that field. You have learned some unbelievable lessons about life and never giving in, that you will carry with you the rest of your life.”

 

 

 

Their State Championship victory in 2014 may have come to a shock to some, or just seem to be old-hat to those close to the program. After taking on arguably one of the tougher schedules in the country to start the season, Bentonville righted their ship when it mattered most, rattling off nine consecutive wins to end the season, as their coach would say, by never giving in.

 

The Tigers opened their season against three top teams from three different states. In their first game, they hosted the eventual Missouri Class 6 Runner-Up Rockhurst High School. Led by quarterback and former NFLer Trent Green’s son – T.J. Green – the Hawklets defeated Bentonville, 17-16, only after a two-point conversion was unsuccessful by the Tigers with 0:39 seconds remaining.

 

In their next game, Bentonville traveled to Broken Arrow High School in Oklahoma, home to one of the top teams in Oklahoma’s Class 6A-I. The Tigers never were able to get things rolling, dropping the game to the BAHS, 34-0.

 

Game three of the season BHS hosted arguably one of the top prep teams across the entire country in New Jersey’s Bergen Catholic. The Crusaders knocked off the Tigers, 21-10, after neither team could muster much offense in the second half.

 

After dropping three in a row, Bentonville would finally have a game against an opponent within their state confines. Southside High School however would spoil the ‘homecoming’ of sorts for the Tigers, capitalizing on two Bentonville interceptions to win 10-7 despite only 170 yards of offense.

 

The losing would stop there as coach Lunney would get his team back on track. A 29-26 victory over Northside marked their first W on the schedule and they would rattle off two straight road victories over Har-Ber (45-13) and Springdale (38-7) in which their offenses would highlight the show.

 

 

Rivalry week loomed for Bentonville, sitting at 3-3 at the time, as Rogers would head to town on October 24. In one of their more impressive performances of the season, the Tigers held the Mounties off the scoreboard while notching a season-high 49 points and 401 yards of total offense, defating Rogers 49-0. Another victory followed, as Bentonville defeated Rogers Heritage behind another offensive showcase, 42-10.

 

The regular season finale would ultimately become a familiar foe as the Tigers hosted Fayetteville, unbeknownst to all that they would ultimately meet again, for the season’s biggest prize. The Bulldogs would muster only two points by way of a blocked punt, while Bentonville seemingly couldn’t be stopped on both sides of the ball, gaining 360 yards of offense and holding Fayetteville to just 149 themselves. The Tigers knocked off the Bulldogs 45-2.

 

After being granted a bye week to open the playoffs, a second round victory over Bryant (17-7) ensued and would set up arguably one of the most anticipated matchups of the 2014 season across the entire country when Bentonville were scheduled to take on North Little Rock High School.

 

Two perennial powerhouses in Arkansas and two of the most recognizable teams across the U.S. would square off with the victor advancing to the Championship.

 

Bentonville’s defense stymied the Charging Wildcats potent offense, holding them when it was most important, on fourth down and nearing the goal line. Despite allowing 404 total yards of offense to NLR, the Tigers defeated North Little Rock 42-10. The 10 points scored by NLR would be their lowest of the season.

 

The Championship game would present itself after the Tigers victory over North Little Rock – a rematch against Fayetteville. A back-and-forth game would ensue as each team would have turns with momentum. The Tigers took a 17-7 lead before squandering that with 17 unanswered points by the Bulldogs. The ultimate game-winning TD by Smith would be after a 12-play drive that spanned 60 yards in the final quarter.

 

"I've coached a lot of ball games, I don't think I've coached a game with such significance on it that I saw tonight on our coaching staff, our sidelines and players on the football field that execute and fight their hears out, like this," Lunney said. "When you look at what you accomplished, this is about as special as a guy could want to be a part of, ever."

 

Bentonville was led offensively during their wild ride in 2014 by junior quarterback Kasey Ford who completed 132-of-235 passes for 1640 yards and 17 touchdowns against just six interceptions.

 

Smith carried the ball 214 times for 1222 yards and 13 touchdowns, all team highs. Scroggins recorded 65 receptions for 850 yards and 11 touchdowns, all at least tripling the next closest on the team.

 

As a team, Bentonville saw six players nominated to the 7A All-State team as offensive linemen Mitchell Williams and Ean Pfeifer joined Scroggins on the offensive side. Defensive lineman Hekili Keliiliki, linebacker Harrison Rooney and defensive back Tyrone Mahone were selected from the defensive side of the ball. They also had 10 players selected to the All-Conference team.

 

Bennett Moehring was selected as the 7A’s kicker of the year as well.

 

The Tigers will look to defend back-to-back championships when the 2015 rolls around. Until then, Bentonville can bask in the glory of a season to remember for ages.

 

"The season, the resolve, the finish, goes beyond that field," Lunney said. "It took every one on this team to do what (they) just did.

 

"This is special, special, special to be a part of."

 

Offensive stat leaders

Rushing: Dylan Smith (1222 yards)

Passing: Kasey Ford (1640 yards)

Receiving: Cody Scroggins (850 yards)

All-Purpose: Dylan Smith (1407 yards)

Touchdowns: Dylan Smith (14)

Rush attempts: Dylan Smith (214 carries)

Receptions: Cody Scroggins (65 catches)

 

Defensive stat leaders

Sacks: Xavier Domineack (6.0)

Interceptions: Cody Scroggins (6)

Fumbles recovered: Four tied at 2

 

Team statistics

Total scoring: 364 points

Total offense: 4133 yards

Total rushing yards: 2400 yards

Total passing yards: 1733 yards

Third down conversions: 47-of-144 (32.6%)

Turnover Differential: +15 (19 INT, 6 FR)

A perfect season for one of Alabama's top teams

 
Cameron Mellor (@CamMellor)
January 2, 2015

 

 

 

 

In head coach Jerry Hood’s sixth season as the man-in-charge for Clay-Chalkville, the Cougars saw unprecedented success. Hood’s team finished the season undefeated and knocked off Saraland, 36-31 in the Class 6A State Championship game.

 

The victory over Saraland marked the programs second State Championship, and first since 1999.

 

2014 was an unblemished season for the Cougars who finished the year a perfect 15-0 for the first time in school history. 2014 also saw several offensive team records set including most points scored in a season (731) and in a single game (85). They averaged 48.7 points per game and scored at least 35 in each contest.

 

The championship game was nothing short of spectacular as well, but leading up to the game, the Cougars dominated nearly every opponent, defeating all but one opponent by double-digits.

 

The Cougars started the year off by defeating Florida's Niceville High School, 44-23. Then rattled off three straight home victories over Minor, Hillcrest Tuscaloosa and Huffman by a combined score of 161-54. They then managed a 10-point victory at Pinson Valley, 45-35 before their lone bye week.

 

Two of their next three games, the Cougar defense held opponents to single digits, allowing six points against Center Point and eight points against Woodlawn. Clay-Chalkville ended their regular season with consecutive road games, a victory over Gardendale, 45-20 and a win over Hewitt-Trussville, 59-28 in the regular season finale.

 

The opening round of the AHSAA Class 6A Playoffs pitted the Cougars against Scottsboro High School. Defenses had trouble stopping either offense that night as the two teams combined to score the most points in a single game, in AHSAA history at 135. Clay-Chalkville’s 85 points were the most ever in school history, but more importantly were more than the 50 they allowed to Scottsboro.

 

The Cougars advanced to the third round with a 35-14 victory over Muscle Shoals before trouncing Decatur, 38-10 to move into the state semifinal game. After proving to be no match for Florence by means of a 35-21 victory, coach Hood’s team would move on to the Class 6A State Championship game against Saraland at Jordan-Hare Stadium, home of the Auburn Tigers.

 

This State Championship lacked nothing. Lead changes, momentum swings, big plays, turnovers and two very evenly matched teams left everything on the field in a game for the ages in the 6A ranks.

 

After swapping scores in the first few possessions, the Cougars built a 16-7 halftime lead on two short touchdown runs by quarterback Tyrrell Pigrome. Saraland however, would score 17 unanswered points in the third quarter to take a 24-16 lead before Pigrome would answer again.

 

With just 2:35 remaining in the third quarter and with his team down by eight points, Pigrome hit wide receiver Dominique Collins for 17 yards and a touchdown. A failed two-point conversion left the Cougars trailing 24-22 headed into the final quarter.

 

Pigrome would not be denied in the fourth quarter as he hit tight end Terrell Simmons for 80 yards and the go-ahead score, with under six minutes left in the game. However, Saraland would answer on their very next possession on fourth down, via a Tyler Sims 23-yard touchdown rush. The Spartans led 31-30 with 3:19 left in the game.

 

Just four plays later, Pigrome would scamper for 48 yards and the eventual game-winning touchdown, his third rushing TD of the game. The Cougars would hold off Saraland on their last ditch effort on fourth down, defeating the Spartans, 36-31.

 

 

Pigrome finished the game completing 15-of-20 pass attempts for 256 yards and two touchdowns while also rushing the ball 14 times for 124 yards and those three touchdowns.

 

Pigrome was named MVP and along with Simmons and defensive lineman Nick McDaniel were all named to the AHSAA 1st Team All State. Offensive lineman Justin Daniel, defensive lineman Kendell Jones, Collins and running back Terrelle West were named to the AHSAA 2nd Team All-State while kicker Patrick Millican was named Honorable Mention.

 

A look at the statistical breakdown for the Cougars during their impressive run in 2014 (All stats reflect the data recorded on behalf of Clay-Chalkville):

 

Offensive stat leaders

Rushing: Terelle West (1230 yards)

Passing: Tyrrell Pigrome (1630 yards)

Receiving: Terrell Simmons (583 yards)

All-Purpose: Terelle West (1533 yards)

Rush attempts: Terelle West (122 carries)

Receptions: Terrell Simmons (28 catches)

 

Defensive stat leaders

Total tackles: Terry Brown (56.5)

Tackles for loss: Kendell Jones (11)

Pass break ups: Kameron Prewitt (21)

Interceptions: Kameron Prewitt (3)

 

Follow along next season for more updates from the Cougars and receive up-to-the-minute stat updates from their games by following @NFHS_Scoreboard on Twitter.

A retrospective look at some of Digital Scout's State Champion football teams

 
Cameron Mellor (@CamMellor)
January 1, 2015

 

2014 was a memorable year for many programs across the country. For some, the ultimate goal of a state championship was finally realized. For others, a return to glory culminated their season.

 

For all state champions though, a dream came true.

 

A dream for the players, coaches, parents and grandparents, brothers and sisters, friends and community who collectively make up the family that is a high school football team.

 

From Florida to Washington and Vermont to California, there were over 80 programs who reached the State Championship and utilized the Digital Scout software in 2014. There were countless others to advance far in the playoffs.

 

Our State Champions came from all over the country

 

No matter the reason, these State Champions and State Runners-Up who utilized Digital Scout in 2014 made it clear – the elite programs across the nation recognize the benefits of Digital Scout.

 

Whether it was to save time – “Having stats done live saved the coaches a ton of time.” (Head Coach Scott Pingel of Missouri Class 4 State Champion Christian Brothers College High School)

 

Or whether it was to watch more film – “I spent much less time figuring stats and much more time watching film!” (Head Coach Travis White of Oklahoma Class C State Champion Tipton High School)

 

Whether it was to email stats directly to the parents, fans and media – “This was our second full year of using (Digital Scout) as our only stats program .. What I really like from this program is the automatic updating of season stats and the ability to email full box scores and stats directly after the game.” (Head Coach Ryan Hasselstrom of Idaho Division 1AD1 State Champion Prairie High School)

 

Or whether it was to incorporate their team’s fans in more ways than ever before – “Digital Scout from a fan standpoint has brought back many alumni and past supporters on a weekly basis to check in real time. The amount of praise we’re receiving from having this program has been overwhelming.” (Head Coach Lou Marinelli of Connecticut Class L State Champion New Canaan High School)

 

No matter the reason, it is clear that Digital Scout is an asset that the elite choose to employ. It could also be, as coach Marinelli went on to further explain, how programs gain additional supporters upon utilizing Digital Scout.

 

“The post-game stats and analysis provided a great deal of helpful information that was fast and easy to access,” Marinelli said. “Aside from all the football specific information, the support infrastructure they have in place is second to none.

 

“The whole Digital Scout team is a fan of your school and will do anything to help you.”

 

While the Digital Scout software alone will not make your team a Champion, it is certain that utilizing Digital Scout during your games live Friday night will only help better your team.

 

It is at this time, the beginning of a new year, that we want to take a look back and depict some of the key stories, moments and all around great seasons for the programs across the country that won a football State Championship in 2014.

 

Without further ado, Friday, January 2, will start our series of recapping our 2014 state championship teams, starting in Alabama and working all the way to Wyoming.

 

To all the programs who utilized Digital Scout this past season – we thank you and look forward to many years of bringing you the best statistical tracking software there is. May 2015 bring continued success to you and your program.

 

Follow along with our recaps through our social media outlets - Facebook and Twitter - and see all of our published stories with the links below.

 

Clay-Chalkville, Alabama 6A Champions (1/2/15)

Bentonville, Arkansas 7A Champions (1/5/15)

Dixie, Utah 3AA Champions (1/7/15)

Pine Bluff, Arkansas 6A Champions (1/9/15)

New Canaan, Connecticut Class L Large Champions (1/12/15)

Northside. Georgia Class AAAAA Champions (1/14/15)

Hawkinsville, Georgia Class A Champions (1/15/15)

Prairie, Idaho Class 1A I Champions (1/19/15)

Bishop Kelly, Idaho Class 4A Champions (1/20/15)

Wilmington, Illinois Class 3A Champions (1/22/15)

Tri-West Hendricks, Indiana Class 3A Champions (1/27/15)

Ben Davis, Indiana Class 6A Champions (1/27/15)

Pella, Iowa Class 3A Champions (1/29/15)

Dowling Catholic, Iowa Class 4A Champions (1/30/15)

Bishop Miege High School, Kansas Class 4A State Champions (2/11/15)

South Christian High School, Michigan Class 4 State Champions (2/13/15)

St. Mary Catholic Central High School, Michigan Class 6 State Champions (2/16/15)

Lourdes High School, Minnesota Class AAA State Champions (2/18/15)

Webb City High School, Missouri Class 4 State Champions (2/24/15)

Battle High School, Missouri Class 5 State Champions (2/25/15)

Christian Brothers College High School, Missouri Class 6 State Champions (2/27/15)

Boone Central/Newman Grove High School, Nebraska Class C1 State Champions (3/3/15)

Canisius High School, New York CHSAA State Champions (3/17/15)

 

Other Digital Scout State Champions:

Arickaree-Woodlin, Colorado CHSAA 6-Man

Victoria, Kansas 8-Man Division II

Shawnee Mission East, Kansas Division 6A

Acadiana, Louisiana Class 5A

Northwest, Maryland Class 4A

Grand Meadow, Minnesota Class 9-Man

Sharkey-Issaquena Academy, Mississippi MAIS 8-Man

Hemingford, Nebraska Class D1 8-Man

Exeter-Milligan, Nebraska Class D2 8-Man

Aquinas Catholic, Nebraska Class C2

Chenango Forks, New York Class C

Charlotte Christian, North Carolina NCISA Independent

Fargo Davies, North Dakota Division AAA

Jenks, Oklahoma Class 6A-I

Tipton, Oklahoma Class C

Adrian, Oregon Class 1A

Northwood Academy, South Carolina SCISA AA Region I

Knoxville West, Tennessee Division I Class 5A

Throckmorton, Texas 6-Man 1A D2

Okanogan, Washington Division 2B

Somerset, Wisconsin Division 4

Lancaster, Wisconsin Division 5

Guernsey-Sunrise, Wyoming Division 1A 6-Man

 

6 big games set to take place on Saturday, December 13

 
Cameron Mellor (@CamMellor)
December 10, 2014
 

The high school football season has seemingly ended in the majority of states across the nation. Missouri was finished two weeks ago, Alaska about a month ago. From both Carolina’s to even New York State and from the Dakota’s to Washington State, the high school season was here and then it was gone.

 

Let us be here to ensure you that your high school football viewing season is not quite over just yet. There are still several other states that are culminating their seasons this weekend with arguably none bigger than Virginia’s VHSL State Football Championships.

 

Across all six divisions of Virginia High School Football – 12 teams – will take part in six games on Saturday, December 13 at either 12:00 pm, 4:00 pm or 4:30 pm, headlined by storied program, two-time defending Champion L.C. Bird against State Championship newcomer, Tuscarora.

 

In the 5A Championship game, the Skyhawks from Lloyd C. Bird High School entered the playoffs on the heels of losing their regular season finale on a last-second Hail Mary pass to Manchester. Bird has won seven of their last eight games and their only other loss this season had come to a Lake Taylor team who will be playing for the 4A Championship on Saturday as well.

 

Tuscarora enters the Championship game as arguably the hottest team in the entire state. They are 14-0 this season and have scored no less than 35 points in all but one game this season. An early season 21-8 victory over Loudon County (in which they played the game without starting quarterback Daniel Smith) was the only game in which they didn’t notch 35 or more.

 

Senior running back and Harvard commit Noah Reimers leads the Huskies from Leesburg, who won the school’s first 5A North Regional title last weekend by defeating Massaponax, 41-21. Reimers, the state’s Gatorade Player of the year, has accumulated 2,911 rushing yards on 333 carries and 45 touchdowns.

 

 

 

Reimers alone has as many touchdowns (15) in the postseason as the entire Bird offense has combined for in four games.

 

Bird is paced by a dynamic backfield in quarterback Jalen Elliott and running back Stephen Mines. Elliott has thrown for 1,645 yards, completing 94-of-171 pass attempts and 23 touchdowns while Mines has carried the ball 243 times for 1,949 yards and 20 touchdowns this season.

 

The Huskies this season have had their fair share of tumultuous times in a story-book worthy 2014 season.

 

In early July, beloved Tuscarora defensive coordinator Adam Fortune passed away unexpectedly, leaving behind memories, admiration and a special mantra the student-athletes have demonstrated this entire season – “Don’t strive to be good, strive to be great.”

 

The Huskies rallied with around their community, playing this season ‘Fortune Strong’, dedicating their field to their late-defensive coordinator and even placing a rock at the stadium’s entrance, engraved with Fortune’s name.

 

 

 

Tuscarora will look to cap off an undefeated 2014 season with a win in their first ever appearance in the State Championship game while L.C. Bird will be playing in their third straight Championship game, looking to repeat as 5A Champions for the third straight season.

 

The other games in no way lack interest as the 1A Championship game features 12-2 Essex High School versus 14-0 Altavista Combined School. Altavista has allowed a mere 17 points in their four playoffs games this season while Essex has averaged 41 points per game in the playoffs. Something will have to give in that game, which kicks off Saturday, December 13 at 12:00 pm.

 

The 2A Championship game pits 14-1 Wilson Memorial against 13-1 Glenvar. Wilson Memorial has shutout seven opponents this season, including a stretch of five straight shutout victories early in the season. Similarly, Glenvar has recorded six shutout victories this season. These two meet Saturday, December 13 at 4:30 pm.

 

 

 

 

The 3A Championship game features a 14-0 Lafayette team against 13-1 Magna Vista. Each team has prolific offenses who average nearly the same amount of points per game, Lafayette at 45.0 compared to Magna Vista at 44.8 points per contest. Safe to say points will be scored in this game which kicks off at 12:00 pm on Saturday, December 13.

 

 

 

The 4A Championship game squares off arguably the team’s top team Lake Taylor against offensive power Salem. Both teams are undefeated, a perfect 28-0 combined while Salem averages nearly 47 points per game and Lake Taylor holds opponents to under nine points per contest. Salem and Lake Taylor play for the 4A Championship, which kicks off at 4:30 pm, Saturday, December 13.

 

 

 

The 6A Championship game features nationally recognized Ocean Lakes against 12-2 Centreville from Clifton. Ocean Lakes has scored an incredible 722 points this season, while limited opponents to just 145. They have topped 39 points in each contest this season while tipping the point totals over 50 in half of their games. Centreville’s two losses can be deceiving as they lost to the Washington D.C. Class 2 Champion, and nationally ranked Gonzaga, and to cross-town rival Westfield by a mere one point.

 

 

 

The Dolphins will be looking for their first ever championship when they play the Wildcats on Saturday, December 13 at 4:00 pm. 

The Knights, as a team, are champions on the field, role models off

 
Cameron Mellor (@CamMellor)
December 2, 2014

 

It’s rare in this day and age that we in the sports world don’t hear a story in the news daily that depicts an athlete or team doing some immoral, illegal or even heinous activities. From professional all the way down the ladder to even youth sports, those ‘bad eggs’ are seemingly more prevalent than ever.

 

This is not to say that there aren’t some uplifting stories out there that don’t grab at your heartstrings, it just seems in this world we live in where mobile alerts and streaming updates rule your news – those dishonest and indecent stories hit your desktop, phone or tablet instantly.

 

Allow me to occupy your monitors and mobile displays with a truly heartwarming, feel-good story about three-time defending North Carolina State Champions – Charlotte Christian Knights.

 

On the heels of their second consecutive State Title, the Knights opened the 2014 campaign with much expected high hopes and their eyes on a third straight championship. While head coach Jason Estep’s time at Charlotte Christian School has been short (he became head coach in 2008), he has built a perpetual contender year in and year out for not only conference titles, but state championships alike.

 

“Jason Estep has built an amazing program here at CCS that has produced four state championships in his short time as head football coach,” wide receivers coach Gary Brown said. “It has been an honor to be on this amazing staff.”

 

The selflessness displayed by that innocent comment from coach Brown is something that sets the Knights as a team apart from others in the state, but especially depicts the kind of moral character the program has.

 

Take for example, offensive center and Under Armour All-American Brian Chaffin. The 6-foot-2, 280-pound lineman, who committed to Stanford University in June of this year, started the 2014 season at the center position. When starting right tackle Josh Bryant broke his hip five games into the season, it was Chaffin who jumped at the opportunity to help better the team and fill that gap.

 

Brian Chaffin is committed to play at Stanford next fall.

 

“Brian Chaffin volunteered to move from center to right tackle when Josh Bryant broke his right hip,” Brown said. “By doing so, (it) would make the offensive line stronger.”

 

Chaffin moved back to center for the State Championship game as Bryant would return from his hip injury to play with his team in the title game, in its entirety.

 

Chaffin isn’t the only top recruit on the Knights either. Defensive back Jaylon McClinton committed to play football for Army while Chaffin’s fellow offensive lineman, 6-foot-7, 260-pound Philip Walton committed to play for nearby North Carolina State University.

 

The buck doesn’t stop there either, as for the class of 2016, Charlotte Christian has already placed several players on either watch lists or top athlete lists for next season. Headlined by running back Elijah Deveaux, who has already committed to Duke, midway through his junior season.

 

Elijah Deveaux committed to play at Duke six games into his junior season, on his birthday (Oct. 10)

 

“We have had back-to-back Under Armour All-Americans and placed no less than 15 players in (Division I) schools over the past three seasons,” Brown said. “We have 19 (athletes) currently on college rosters.

 

“Considering Charlotte Christian School has less than 400 students in the 9-12 upper school – that’s boys and girls – we have an extremely high level of participation.”

 

Placing athletes in colleges is one thing. Having them ready to play in their first year on campus is a completely different task – and something that the coaching staff of the Knights has done very well.

 

Take for example, Jeb Blazevich, who is the starting tight end for the Georgia Bulldogs as a true freshman.

 

Or take Bo Hines, who is starting at slot receiver for the NC State Wolfpack as a true freshman.

 

Or take Matthias Farley who is the starting safety for Notre Dame, who only started playing football his junior season at CCS.

 

That readiness and willing to help out their respective teams is a direct correlation to the coaching and preaching they receive at Charlotte Christian.

 

“The seniors led devotions every Monday and one of the coaches gives his insight on the topic from a personal or biblical perspective,” Brown said. “My senior receivers were always supportive and encouraging of the underclassmen all season. An amazing group of young men.”

 

The stories about the players are endless. What about the coaches behind them? Want to know where these athletes get their great moral character from? Look no further than the guys with the whistles and clipboards.

 

A long time user of the Digital Scout software, Brown credits one contributing factor of the Knights’ success to the statistical information he and the coaching staff receive when utilizing Digital Scout.

 

“(Digital Scout) has made it easier to compile and share stats,” Brown said. “I am able to email half time and end of game stats immediately. It used to take an hour to compile, download and email. (Now) I am able to send everything to coach Estep at the half, he has everything he wanted to know within 15 seconds.”

 

In his nine years of tracking stats with Digital Scout, Brown has not missed a play. When he was unable to attend a game over the past three seasons, Brown had a dad on the phone with him, radioing in plays so he could input the play-by-play data on his iPad in real time.

 

When he had a heart attack during the team’s championship run, Brown would not be stopped from utilizing Digital Scout and not missing a play.

 

“(On) November 7, I suffered a mild heart attack,” Brown said. “The cardiologist wouldn’t release me for the state semifinal game that evening, so my wife brought me headphones and the iPad to the hospital, had a dad on a headset, and I made sure the nurses weren’t to disturb me from 7:00 to 9:30 pm.

 

“Coach Estep had the stats both at half time and at the end and the media got everything immediately.”

 

The Knights finished the season 11-1, winners of 11 straight and a third consecutive State Championship – coach Estep’s fourth in his seven seasons as head coach at Charlotte Christian.

 

While their success is something in its own rite, the caliber of young man that the Charlotte Christian coaching staff is building in North Carolina is something special.

 

“I have never seen players so selfless and expressive of their love for each other,” Brown said. “It really is a greater ‘thing’ than winning games.”

 

From all of us at Digital Scout – we thank you Knights, for your patronage, your humility, but mainly for giving us something good and wholesome to follow along with each football season and beyond, because as coach Brown says – that’s really greater than winning.