Cornerstone Christian wins NCS football title

Photo by Tony Kukulich

Cornerstone Christian quarterback Caed Miner willed his team to its first North Coast Section eight-man title with a 64-48 win over Branson last week. Miner ran the ball 32 times for 445 yards and eight touchdowns.

Cornerstone Christian’s football coach Logan Heyer glows about quarterback Caed Miner’s heart.

But it turns out the senior’s legs are pretty special, too.

Miner carried the ball 32 times for 445 yards and eight touchdowns to secure the team its first North Coast Section eight-man championship in a 64-48 triumph over Branson at Rio Vista High School last week.

“I have always been the crazy kid, the wild kid,” Miner said. “I have a lot of energy.”

The top-seeded Cougars (12-0) never trailed en route to their 21st straight victory dating back to last season — but it wasn’t easy.

Second-seeded Branson, the defending section champions, tied the game at 22 early in the second quarter and then battled back from a 16-point mid-third-quarter deficit to pull within two on Luke George’s 30-yard catch late in the third. But Miner countered with two unanswered fourth-quarter scores to reestablish the Cougars’ two-touchdown lead with 8:12 left in the game. Branson drew no closer than 10 the rest of the way in losing just their second game all season — both to Cornerstone Christian.

“He’s the best player I have ever coached,” Heyer said of Miner. “The heart on him, he’s incredible.”

Cornerstone running back Matthew Broad bolstered the Cougars’ offensive attack with 114 yards on 20 carries. He also caught a 19-yard touchdown pass from Miner that put the Cougars up 30-22 midway through the second quarter — the only Cornerstone score Miner didn’t make himself.

The Cougars defense forced four turnovers in the game, including interceptions by Louie Shuckahosee and Miner, that both led to Miner touchdowns on Cornerstone’s ensuing offensive possessions, putting the team up 37-22 midway through the second quarter and 58-42 early in the fourth.

Branson, however, hung tough, never trailing by more than two touchdowns in the game.

Bulls senior quarterback Blaze Maier completed 19 of 32 passes for 248 yards and six touchdowns, and running back Kenyon Graham carried the ball 11 times for 132 yards and a score. Graham also caught another touchdown.

The Cougars’ winning season cements their dramatic turnaround from a struggling 3-4 unit in 2017 to a North Coast Section champion in 2019.

The team went 9-0 in 2018 and continued its dominant play this season, outscoring its opponents 696-215.

“Three years ago, we restarted,” Heyer said. “We went three and whatever, took our lumps and got killed quite a bit. The senior class was determined they were not going to get beat, and they have done it the last two years.”

After the game, Cornerstone players relished their achievement, dousing multiple coaches with water and popping celebratory apple cider.

“Whenever people ask us where we are from and we say ‘Cornerstone,’ they are like, ‘I have never heard of that,’” said Jacob Ebert. “But maybe now people will start hearing about us.”

Broad agreed — the thrill of victory was electrifying.

“I’m fighting back emotions right now,” he said. “It’s a blessing to be here.”