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CCA limping into playoffs

Last year coach John Niblett’s Central Christian Academy team gave up a late lead to South Montgomery County Academy.

The Warriors appeared to have the day in hand, but a few key mistakes gave South Montgomery

a chance. In a rain storm, SMCA fought back for a 34-28 playoff win in the final minute of play.

All off-season and through this year, the team hoped for a chance to redeem themselves.

They’ve earned the opportunity Thursday night.

They host SMCA at 7 p.m. at Memorial Stadium. But now Niblett wonders if they are healthy enough to take advantage.

“We’ve just got so many dang injuries,” Niblett said. “We’re starting three freshmen in the secondary.

We lost three starters the other night.”

Defensive back Patrick Thomas is out with a hip-pointer and senior DB Jay Hale is out after having ankle surgery.

Those are losses the Warriors couldn’t afford against an SMCA team that loves to put the ball in the air.

Quarterback Ryan Rials has thrown for over 2,300 yards so far this season.

He spreads the ball around, hitting Chase Ingram for 835 yards and Brent Kohn for 804 yards.

“That’s going hurt,” Niblett said of losing so many DB’s before playing SMCA. “They throw the ball almost every play. Hopefully we’ll play well.”

The defensive backfield isn’t the only place the Warriors are hurting.

Quarterback Tee Woods’ knee is still very limiting.

Plus, the quarterback/linebacker banged his hand on a helmet last week throwing the ball against Lowndes Academy.

He’s been very limited throwing the ball in practice this week.

Unfortunately that’s not all. Junior lineman Jarvis Williams is out with a knee injury.

Add that to the loss of Jerome Deese to a broken leg earlier this season and the Warriors are one banged up football team.

“All year we’ve been wanting to make amends (for the loss),” Niblett said. “I’m hoping our guys can rise to the occasion.”