Stunning season for Cedric Case, Silver City
In addition to serving as NFA’s National Director of Nutrition and educating all of the program’s athletes on nutrition, supplementation, nutrient utilization and customized meal planning, Chad Case serves as a certified QBA Coach with NFA. He also coaches the Star City Silverbacks in Lincoln, Neb., and is coming off a remarkable season.
Before the first football was snapped, Case had a feeling his 12U team was something special. “I wanted to step out and do things differently,” he said. “I wanted to offer what I think is a more complete curriculum and more year-round support for the athlete, which isn’t really done a lot around here. A year ago, I formed Star City Select, and this was our first year of football.”
Case coached youth football for five seasons before starting Star City Select, and 15 of his former players joined the Silverbacks. “With those 15 kids, we lost only three times in last five years,” Case said. “We went 52-3-1. What we experienced in the past was we had a great nucleus of talent, kids with really high football IQs. It’s kids that are really thirsty for even more teaching so it was wonderful to work with them in that regard. And then to go out and add kids that had those same desires, we just had a more complete roster, top to bottom. In the past when you’d take out your first-string players, your starters so to speak, and you’d run in your backups, we were running out kids that were just as talented as the quote, unquote starters. There really wasn’t much of a drop-off and what that meant for us, in the past we were winning games 35-0, 40-0. Now all of the sudden we were putting up 50, 60 points and it wasn’t a situation where we were trying to run up the score. We just had very talented kids that were able to execute.”
To go along with his 15 holdovers, Case added nine new players this season. “We went out and held combines, and a free clinic really helped identify other kids in and around Lincoln,” Case said. “It worked out really well.”
What made the season even more enjoyable for Case was applying what he’s learned from his experiences with NFA. “A lot of it came from NFA, just seeing how we handle camps and how we teach kids and using that curriculum base,” he said. “(NFA Coach) JC Boice came down this past summer and helped install R4 for the Silverbacks and we have used it in our pass game exclusively. Mike Barry, the renowned offensive line coach, came and taught the Silverbacks the inside zone, as we transitioned from a man scheme to zone scheme and absolutely loved the simplicity and effectiveness allowing us to run no huddle, taking the guesswork out of it and allowing the boys to play fast.”
Star City played smart, fast and extremely well. After an impressive undefeated regular season (9-0) that crowned them as regular season champs in the Heartland Youth Football League, the Silverbacks continued on by winning the league playoffs and title game, finishing Heartland play 11-0. During the incredible stretch of 11 games, the Silverbacks averaged over 50 points per game and went unscored upon.
Stepping up in class
After wrapping up the league championship, Star City traveled to Kansas City for the Tournament of Champions, playing teams an age group older. Despite the age difference, the Silverbacks won their first game in regionals, 47-0, while improving their overall record to 12-0. Silver City lost the next game 18-8 to the Next Level All-Stars, a powerhouse team comprised of players from Missouri and Kansas.
“We were playing up in age and especially right now, at 12, 13 and 14, so many kids have entered puberty, so many have not, so the teams we were playing against, they looked like grown men,” Case said. “It was really tough opposition. We won the first game 47-0 and in the loss, we were ahead when one of our players dislocated his hip. Looking at our sidelines, these young men were tearing up because that’s their buddy and he gets hurt and is being carried off on a stretcher. I think we lost our zest a little and ended up losing. In realty, that was probably the best thing because we had just mowed through the regular season and the playoffs so convincingly that it kind of kept us in check. We knew we had to keep working, keep grinding going into Vegas.”
The Silverbacks traveled to Las Vegas to play in the National Youth Football Championships over Thanksgiving. They opened with a 19-6 victory over the Paramount (Calif.) Pirates. “It was incredible,” Case said. “To go to Las Vegas and play on a national stage, and play a team out of South Central Los Angeles, it was quite an experience. I know the first game, the players might have been questioning themselves, asking if the could really compete on this level. It’s one thing to play kids you know and defeat them, but to get out of your comfort zone and to have to stretch yourself in that way, to go to a field you’re not accustomed to, to be in a city that many of them had never been to, to play an opponent you’ve never played, very, very talented opponents at that, and then to go out there and compete and succeed, it was tremendously rewarding.”
Advancing to the national title game in Vegas, Silver City beat the defending national champs, Red Creek Nation (Colo.) 37-13 to an unforgettable 14-1 season. For the year, the Silverbacks averaged over 47 points a game while yielding just 37 the entire season to go with 10 shutouts.
“We passed the ball quite a bit,” Case said. “We had a very good passing game, and that made us a truly two-dimensional team where most youth teams, even junior high teams, are so run heavy. We actually were about 55-45 percent. We ran the ball about 55 percent of the time and threw about 45 percent throughout the entire season, even in the bigger matchups. In the championship game, all five of our offensive touchdowns were through the air.”
Silver City rushed for 2,520 yards on the season, averaging over 9 yards per carry, and had 40 rushing touchdowns. On the passing side, Cedric Case threw for 2,335 yards, completing almost 75 percent of his throws (131 for 177). He also had 39 TD passes and two interceptions.
Cedric Case is Chad’s son, but he earned his spot as Silver City’s starting quarterback. “He probably catches it harder from me in practice than the other players because I don’t ever want it to come across that he’s getting any kind of special treatment whatsoever,” Chad Case said. “To his credit, he started attending NFA camps when he was nine years old and I’ll never forget the first camp. He couldn’t figure out not to hop on a three-step drop and he was so frustrated with it, he broke down in tears. But Coach Boice was there and he took him off to the side and put his arm around him and talked to him. Everybody kept working with him and before you knew it, he got it. On the way home I remember asking him how he like it and he said, ‘I liked it, and I learned I don’t know how to throw a football. I have to learn how to throw a football correctly.’
“Ever since then, we’ve been attending NFA camps, and to see him develop these relationships with these gentlemen that I have such high regard for, I feel truly blessed that he’s getting that type of tutelage, not only football but what we’re called upon to do as men. I’ve really watched him mature. He’s still 12 years old; he’s still going to make mistakes, but I’ve watched him mature dramatically over the past few years and I know in my heart that a lot of it has to do with the men that he’s met through the NFA. There are guys like Kyle Miller, who still takes time out of his day to text him. The morning of the championship games, I had guys like Kyle and Reid Roe and Dub (Maddox) and Will (Hewlett) and JC all texting him and wishing him good luck. It’s just incredible to be a part of that.”
Attending NFA camps obviously helped Cedric Case elevate his overall game. “As far as his play on the field, it’s been very rewarding as a coach to know you have a quarterback that has a very good grasp on the offense,” Chad Case said. “It’s a luxury. For him to be able to identify coverages and change plays if need be, this year I really loosened things up a lot and gave him a lot of control at the line of scrimmage just to help him in his development. He really handled that well. I did have concerns heading into the championship game – would the moment be too big for him? He can up to me right before the game started and said, ‘I want to throw it all day coach.’ I silently got a smile on my face because I knew he was feeling good.”
Cedric Case put up monster numbers during a memorable season, not that he even noticed. “Make sure to credit my team, because this isn’t about me,” Cedric Case said. “My O-line was awesome, they protected me all year, and my backs and receivers are unreal. They made my job easy.”