40 in 30: Russell Christian Academy

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MERIDIAN, Miss. -- For the second time in school history, and the first since making the move to 8-man football, Russell Christian Academy brought a state championship back home to Meridian.

"We got after it last year" said senior wide receiver Jared McMullen. "We had a really good team that worked together as a unit, offensively and defensively."

"It was a great season" said senior running back Vincent Reynolds. "We, as a team, we were great. We complimented each other well on the field, and just kept going."

RCA completed an undefeated regular season, with an explosive offense led by quarterback Drew Taylor. The Warriors scored 30 points in every single regular season game, eclipsing the 50-point mark four times.

Taylor also spearheaded the Russell Christian defense at linebacker, earning all-conference and defensive player of the year honors. That drew the attention of Mississippi College, who signed Taylor to continue his football career at the Division II level.

"We had a great season because of him" Reynolds said. "He was a focal part of our success. We still have leaders on the team, but no one is going to be as much of a leader as he was."

RCA rolled through the 8-man playoffs to win the Alabama state championship over East Memorial Christian Academy, and earned a spot in the NHSA National Tournament last fall. The Warriors reached the championship game before ending the year with a loss to Christian Community out of White House, Tennessee.

This year, head coach Chad Eaves returns multiple starters on both sides of the ball, hoping to guide a reloaded Warriors team to a second consecutive state championship.

"We're going for it all again" McMullen said. "We don't like to lose."

Russell Christian Academy opens the 2018 season on the road at Tuscaloosa Christian.