SUMMERDALE, Alabama — In the short span of three years, the Snook Christian Academy Eagles football program has seen a lot of firsts.
The team played its first-ever game on Aug. 21, 2017, a 22-14 victory over St. Patrick Catholic High School of Biloxi, Mississippi.
The team would go on to break even that first year at 5-5 and went on to join the Alabama Independent School Association in 2018, earning their first playoff spot with a 45-42 victory over Abbeville Christian Academy.
Now the Eagles and Head Coach Keith Smith can claim their first-ever college football signee in Camaje Casey, who recently signed with Faulkner University of Montgomery.
“I am so proud that he is our first signee,” Smith said during a signing ceremony held Friday, June 26 at the school in Summerdale. “That’s something you always think about, ‘Could someone from this school earn a football scholarship?’ and I believe that Camaje is someone that these other student-athletes can look up to and someone they can emulate looking toward the future.”
The son of Essex and Ashanti Casey of Foley, Smith said Camaje has been a standout player for him since his last team at Foley Middle School in 2014.
Like a lot of Smith’s players at Snook, Casey had to fill a lot of positions on the field, including quarterback, running back and receiver on offense, outside linebacker, defensive end and safety on defense.
“He can play just about any position on the field,” Smith said. “He has also shown a lot of physical strength and toughness. He injured his thumb in a game in 2017, but he kept playing. In fact, nobody knew about the injury until he reinjured it in the next game. That’s just the type of player he is.”
After suspending their season in 2019, Smith said they had to rely on film from the 2018 season to get Casey the recognition he deserved. Faulkner, which is also Smith’s Alma Mater, had been looking at Casey for some time, Smith said.
“We sent them film from several games in 2018 and they were very impressed with him, particularly in the Abbeville game.”
In that contest, which sealed the Eagles’ first-ever spot in the AISA Class A playoffs, Casey rushed for 162 yards on 14 carries and three touchdowns, while completing 4-of-8 passes for 137 yards and two scores.
In two seasons for the Eagles, Casey rushed for 856 yards on 190 carries (4.5 yards per carry), while passing for 546 yards, completing 38 of 75 passes (50.7 percent), in spite of the fact that he broke his thumb in the sixth game of the season in 2017, missing the last three games of the year. He then missed the first two games of the 2018 season and hurt his ribs in the third game, but played through the rest of the season.
Casey said he is looking forward to the opportunity to play at the next level.
“I just want to thank my coaches and my family for supporting me through the years,” Casey said, “and I want to thank Faulkner for giving me this tremendous opportunity.”