Cadets utilize strong offense, defense to secure first ever State Title

 
Cameron Mellor (@CamMellor)
February 26, 2015

 

 

After coming up just short on two separate occurrences, Christian Brothers College High School finally achieved arguably their most sought after athletic goal – a football State Championship.

 

Despite having won multiple championships in nearly every other sport at the school, the Cadets had come up just shy of winning the Missouri Class 6 State Title in both 2006 and 2011.

 

In 2014 however, CBC returned to the season’s final game, except this time, they returned from the Edward Jones Dome with a championship trophy. The Cadets defeated perennial Missouri power Rockhurst, 31-24 to cap a perfect season in the perfect way and finish 14-0.

 

During the entire season for Christian Brothers, the Cadets seemed virtually unstoppable, winning their first 13 games by a combined margin of 563 points, or an average margin of victory of just over 43 points per contest.

 

In their first game of the season, CBC hosted Hickman, and easily handled the Kewpies, 63-14. Running backs Tre Bryant and Kaleb Allen each rushed for two touchdowns and quarterback Blake Charlton threw for 130 yards and two scores on just eight completions.

 

The Cadets offense shared the ball very effectively against Hickman as 14 different CBC players touched the ball on offense during their first outing.

 

Defensive leader Kevin Williams recorded 2.0 sacks against Hickman, as he finished the season leading the team in total tackles and tackles for loss.

 

Week two put CBC on the road for the first time, taking on Jefferson City. After a sluggish start for the Cadets, a 35-point third quarter put the game away before an eventual 47-0 victory over the Jays. Bryant again ran for two scores in the game against Jefferson City while defensive back Sean Boyd also scored on an interception return that pushed the Cadets lead to 26-0.

 

After defeating Fort Zumwalt West, 52-21 in week three, Christian Brothers pitched two consecutive shutouts in the face of their annual rivalry game against De Smet Jesuit. Leading up to the game against Spartans, CBC shut out St. John Vianney, 56-0 before blanking Chaminade College Prep, 51-0.

 

In 2014, it was CBC’s turn to travel to De Smet, all 10 minutes of the distance that separates the two. A year removed from the narrow 14-11 Christian Brothers victory, the 2014 version of the rivalry game would be anything but similar to their previous game.

 

The Cadets jumped all over the Spartans early, taking a 37-0 lead to halftime before ultimately dismantling their rival, 60-0. CBC held De Smet to just 47 total yards of offense and running back Calen Taylor ran for 106 yards and two touchdowns. Spartan quarterbacks were held to just 5-of-16 passing for 33 yards while all De Smet rushers combined for just 14 yards on the ground.

 

Christian Brothers forced 10 Spartan punts in what would be their third consecutive shutout victory.

 

The Cadets finished their regular season with victories over St. Louis University (49-16), Tennessee’s Christian Brothers (49-7) and a 14-point victory over Rock Bridge (40-26). To date, the 14-point margin of victory stood as the slimmest of the season for CBC.

 

After finishing the regular season at a perfect 9-0, Christian Brothers faced off against an all too familiar foe in the fashion of their arch rivals – De Smet Jesuit – once again.

 

Despite allowing the Spartans to score in the second quarter, the first round matchup against De Smet looked eerily similar to the team’s first meeting for Spartans fans. While De Smet was able to gain nearly triple the amount of yards the second time around (123), the Spartans turned the ball over three times against the Cadets defense before ultimately dropping the game to CBC, 52-7.

 

 

Christian Brothers have five different players score touchdowns including two rushing scores from Allen and two receiving scores from wide receiver Mike Million.

 

After defeating their rival for the second time in as many games in 2014, the Cadets hosted Francis Howell North and then Hazelwood Central in consecutive playoff games, winning both games by the same score of 45-0.

 

Against Francis Howell North, both Taylor and Bryant each scored two rushing touchdowns in the 45-0 throttling of the Knights.

 

Against Hazelwood Central, CBC did the majority of their damage in the second and third quarters, scoring 17 and 21 points, respectively. The Cadets outgained the Hawks 332 to 174 in this 45-0 victory, only Hazelwood Central’s second loss of the season.

 

The victory over the Hawks exacted revenge for CBC as Hazelwood Central had ousted the Cadets from the playoffs a year prior, 26-24.

 

In the state semifinals, Christian Brothers were to take on an 11-1 Kirkwood team, who had looked equally as impressive in their playoff victories. The Pioneers had won their three games by margins of 53, 28 and 47 points, respectively.

 

Kirkwood’s challenge against CBC would ultimately be too big as Christian Brothers cruised into the State Championship game with a 55-10 victory.

 

After the Pioneers took an early 3-0 lead, CBC’s Bryant grabbed the lead with a 35-yard touchdown run. Damion Baker then intercepted a Will Hadler pass and returned it for a touchdown and a quick 14-point swing.

 

Kirkwood stood tall however, limiting the CBC offense through the majority of the first half and even pull back within striking range after a Robert Columbus 2-yard touchdown rush brought the score to 14-10.

 

However, just two plays later and after a Charlton 57-yard bomb to Lamar Anderson, Taylor punched in a touchdown rush to start the offensive onslaught.

 

CBC scored on their first three possessions of the third quarter, building a 42-10 lead. The Cadets pushed that lead even further when Rashon Davis intercepted a Reece Goddard pass and returned it for the second ‘pick-six’ of the game for Christian Brothers. After one more Taylor touchdown rush, CBC won the game by a score of 55-10 to advance to the finals.

 

Taylor finished with three rushing touchdowns and 102 yards on the ground for the Cadets.

 

Awaiting Christian Brothers in the state’s final game would be Rockhurst, perennial Missouri powerhouse who had won state titles as recent as 2010 and 2007.

 

The meeting between the two teams would go down as one of the better state title games across not only the state of Missouri, but the entire country.

 

Charlton connected on a pass to Million from 3-yards out on the very first possession for CBC. After forcing a three-and-out from the Hawklets offense, Calob Meinzer hit on a 24-yard field goal to give the Cadets an early 10-0 lead in the first quarter.

 

However, after a 19-play drive was capped off by a 3-yard touchdown rush by quarterback T.J. Green, the Hawklets inched back in to the game. Rockhurst forced a three-and-out of their own, forcing Charlton to punt the ball back to the Hawklets, after just 0:39 seconds off the game clock.

 

The CBC defense, who had just been on the field for 19 plays, again were subjected to a long drive by Rockhurst and Green. This time, after a 10-play drive, the Hawklets tied the game at 10 points apiece with a 39-yard Jackson Terry field goal.

 

Charlton however, put the Cadets back in the lead before halftime with his second scoring connection to Million, this one from 21 yards away to give CBC a 17-10 lead at the break.

 

Momentum swung in the early stages of the third quarter in Christian Brother’s favor as a 48-yard field goal attempt from Terry went wide. The Cadets took over, up by a touchdown with 7:38 left in the third quarter. Still, the CBC offense was stopped and after a sack of Charlton, the Cadets were forced to punt yet again.

 

Charlton’s punt subsequently was blocked and Rockhurst would take over at the CBC 19 yard line. Green connected with Taylor Soukup just three plays later from seven yards away to tie the game once again, this time at 17-17.

 

Rockhurst’s defense stepped up once again and force another Christian Brothers punt on the next possession before Green, the son of former NFL quarterback Trent Green, threw his second consecutive scoring pass, this time from 52-yards out and to Lance Boehm.

 

The Hawklets led for the first time in the game, 24-17.

 

Despite all the momentum shifts and the defensive stronghold Rockhurst had, CBC head coach Scott Pingel stuck with the game plan on the nexts drive, churning out a big five-yard rush on third and short by Bryant. After converting the third down, Charlton hit Million for 66 yards to set up a first and goal as the seconds were ticking off the third quarter.

 

Taylor once more tied the game for CBC just before the third quarter ended, punching the ball in from two yards away.

 

On the ensuing possession for the Hawklets, the first of the fourth quarter, Green would be pressured often by the Cadet defense, a common trend in the game. Clayton Stalling and Jordan Davis recorded sacks, the latter forcing Rockhurst to punt the ball away.

 

After the punt, the CBC offense marched down the field in a true championship-moment, trudging 58 yards in 10 plays before Charlton connected with Kameron Curtis from 10-yards away. Charlton’s third passing touchdown of the game pushed Christian Brothers back into the lead, 31-24.

 

Rockhurst’s ensuing possession looked promising as they took over with 5:43 left in the game. After converting on a third down and gaining 38 yards, the CBC defense forced a long 3rd and eight for Green and the Hawklets. The trend of defensive pressure prevailed once again for the Cadets as Stalling recorded his third sack of Green and force a 4th and 19 play that would arguably decide the game.

 

Green’s subsequent pass on fourth down fell incomplete and CBC took over with 2:51 remaining on the clock and in the season for both teams.

 

All did not seem lost for Rockhurst however as they dropped Taylor for -1 yard on first down and held the Charlton to Million connection to just four yards setting up a third and long for the Cadets.

 

However, a costly offsides from the Hawklets shrank a 3rd and 7 to a more manageable 3rd and 2 for CBC. Charlton converted the shortened third down and dashed any hopes of a Rockhurst comeback, giving Christian Brothers College High School their first ever football State Championship, 31-24.

 

 

CBC would finally bring home the coveted title of Missouri Class 6 State Championship back to the school after losing in the 2006 and 2011.

 

The Cadets won their first state championship with a stout defense, a high-powered offense and some senior leadership. Despite losing several players to graduation and to the next level, most notably Taylor who signed with Army and defensive end Quintin Wynne who signed with Northern Illinois, the 2015 fall camp will start with a familiar face under center – Blake Charlton.

 

The rising-senior quarterback will return in 2015, looking to defend the school’s first title. He’ll have a host of weapons returning with him and several returning members of their stalwart defense from the 2014 championship as the Cadets will undoubtedly be the team to beat in Missouri’s Class 6.

 

Offensive stat leaders

Rushing: Calen Taylor (116 yards)

Passing: Blake Charlton (1749 yards)

Receiving: Mike Million (752 yards)

All-Purpose: Calen Taylor (1625 yards)

Touchdowns: Tre Bryant & Calen Taylor (22)

Rush attempts: Calen Taylor (158 carries)

Receptions: Lamar Anderson (56 catches)

 

Defensive stat leaders

Total tackles: Kevin Williams (55.5)

Tackles for loss: Kevin Williams (16)

Sacks: Jordan Davis (9)

Interceptions: Eric Carrera (3)

Interception return: Damion Baker (110 yards)

Fumbles forced: Mike Jones (4)

 

Team statistics

Total scoring: 695 points

Opponent scoring: 125

Total offense: 5812 yards

Total rushing yards: 3367 yards

Total passing yards: 2445 yards

Opponent offense: 2920 yards

Opponent rushing yards: 1312 yards

Opponent passing yards: 1608 yards

Turnover differential: +24 (15 interceptions, 16 fumbles)

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.