Football: CCC-Chaminade preview (Class 1M state final) — Dec. 6, 2023

Football State Finals

All games are played at Tallahassee’s Ken Riley Field at Bragg Memorial Stadium. Admission is $17 in advance and $20 the day of the game via GoFan. Parking is included in the price.

Class 1M

Clearwater Central Catholic (13-0) vs. Hollywood Chaminade-Madonna (13-0), 10 a.m. Thursday

How they got here: Clearwater Central Catholic d. Indian Rocks Christian 42-12, d. Carrollwood Day 45-41, d. Trinity Christian 39-32. Chaminade-Madonna d. Hollywood Avante Garde Academy 67-0, d. West Palm Beach Cardinal Newman 40-0, d. Miami Tru North Classical Academy 47-7.

Stat leaders

CategoryClearwater Central CatholicChaminade
Passing yardsJershaun Newton, 1,926 (14 TDs)Cedrick Bailey, 2,772(43 TDs)
Rushing yardsJershaun Newton, 1,020 (13 TDs)Davion Gause, 934 (13 TDs)
Receiving yardsCaleb Goodloe, 682 (7 TDs)Jeremiah Smith, 1,206 (18 TDs)
TacklesAndy Jaffe, 83Denzel Johnson, 109
SacksKeo Jenkins, 14Zach Crothers, 10
InterceptionsJsai Smith, 2Two tied with four.


There was an air of inevitability leading up to Thursday’s Class 1M state championship game.

The bracket was set up for it. Fans wanted it. Players expected it.

They all got it.

For the second straight season, Clearwater Central Catholic is playing Chaminade-Madonna in the final.

Even their paths were eerily familiar with both teams each facing the exact same opponent in the first two rounds of the playoffs that they did a year ago.

Unlike last season, when the Marauders got past the state semifinal hurdle after coming close for so many years, there was an expectation of not only returning but getting a chance at redemption after losing 48-14 to the Lions in the 2022 title game.

The painful memories of that game served as a powerful motivator.

After all, CCC has not lost since.

The Marauders are perfect despite playing a tough schedule that included 11 games against playoff teams, including two in championship games this weekend — Berkeley Prep (2M) and Ocala Trinity Catholic (1S).

Those challenging matchups helped CCC make history. The Marauders are the first Pinellas County football program to ever make three state championship game appearances. They also join Shorecrest (1975-76) and Dunedin (1986-87) as the county teams to make it to consecutive title games.

Now, CCC is on the verge of becoming the first Pinellas County school to win a state title in 11-man football (the county has numerous eight-man titles, including three straight by Shorecrest).

To win that elusive title, the Marauders have to get past a formidable opponent.

Chaminade is ranked first in the class, second overall in the state and second nationally by MaxPreps. The undefeated Lions have won all but two games by double digits. In their last six games, they outscored opponents by a combined 345-7.

CCC likely will stick to the same plan on offense.

Last year, the Marauders were effective moving the ball on the ground against Chaminade, rushing for 245 yards on 48 carries, an average of 5.1 yards per carry. CCC quarterback Jershaun Newton, who has passed and rushed for than 1,000 yards each of the last two seasons, did most of the damage a year ago, gaining 143 yards rushing.

On defense, the Marauders have to tighten up after allowing nearly 700 yards to the Lions last season. That could be tough considering Chamindade quarterback Cedrick Bailey, running back Davion Gause and receiver Jeremiah Smith are all back.