Football: CCC returns to 1M title game with win over Jacksonville Trinity Christian — Dec. 1, 2023

Clearwater Central Catholic put together a schedule that included 11 teams that made the playoffs. 

Playing so many tough teams boosted the Marauders’ overall ranking. After all, CCC finished fifth – highest among Tampa Bay area teams – in the Florida High School Athletic Association’s final power rankings heading into the playoffs. 

More importantly, that schedule that yielded few easy nights prepared the Marauders for whatever challenge may arise, particularly in the postseason. 

A week after surviving a high-scoring thriller against rival Carrollwood Day in last week’s region final, CCC endured another shootout against Jacksonville Trinity Christian on Friday. 

Rallying from an early two-score deficit, the Marauders showed off their championship resolve to win 39-32. 

By doing so, CCC made history. 

The Marauders became the first football program from Pinellas County to ever make three state title game appearances. They also joined Shorecrest and Dunedin as the only county teams to ever reach the finals in consecutive seasons. 

To top it off, CCC coach Chris Harvey recorded his 80th win. 

It was made possible by the Marauders willingness to battle adversity. 

After falling behind 14-0, CCC kept chipping away at the deficit, eventually taking a 21-20 lead. 

Jershaun Newton led the way, throwing for two touchdowns and running for another. 

Still, the Conquerors would not go away. They went back ahead 26-21 early in the fourth quarter. 

The Marauders answered with Justin Stephen’s 30-yard touchdown run and Newton’s third touchdown through the air, the last one to Caleb Goodloe for a 36-26 lead. 

That ended up being enough for CCC to win – and set up a rematch with Chaminade in Thursday’s 1M state title game.