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West Orange Times & Observer Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021 1 week ago

Complete Team: CFCA flying high after opening week loss

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CFCA not only has won every game since an opening-week loss to Mount Dora Christian, but has done so in convincing fashion.
by: Chris Martucci Sports Editor

Prior to the 2021 season, Central Florida Christian Academy head football coach Jeremy Campbell made a declaration that put all of the Eagles’ opponents on notice. 

“We’re ready to show that the old CFCA is gone,” Campbell said. “Whether we are outnumbered or playing a better team, we’re going to compete.” 

So far, his team has lived up to that promise — and more. 

After an opening-week 41-27 loss to Mount Dora Christian — the same team that knocked them out of the playoffs in 2020 — the Eagles have been on a tear on all sides of the ball.

The Eagles are 4-1 after a 49-0 blowout of Cedar Creek Christian during their Homecoming game Friday, Oct. 8. Ever since the loss to the Bulldogs, CFCA has allowed only 10 points during its winning streak heading toward the end of the regular season and scored no fewer than 40 points during each win. 

Campbell could not be happier with the way things have gone. Part of the success comes down to the culture CFCA has established, he said.

“Prior to Mount Dora, it was 20 guys coming together and playing ball,” he said. “Since that game, we have bonded, and that’s the biggest difference. Our kids genuinely like each other. They’re playing for their brothers now and not themselves. When you play unselfishly, good things will happen.” 

Quarterback Jacob Kania and running back Marcus McCrummin anchor CFCA’s potent offensive attack. Kania, a sophomore transfer from South Lake, has passed for 1,000 yards and nine touchdowns so far this season. He transferred to CFCA, because he felt that the program at South Lake was not a good fit for him. So far, he believes it has been the best decision for him. 

“Everyone is here to work, and everyone is here to get better and go for state,” Kania said. “Every day, we’re working — players, coaches, everyone.” 

Kania believes the loss to Mount Dora Christian was what lit the fuse for the offense.

“We knew we could have beaten them,” Kania said. “We took it personally, because we lost to them in the playoffs last year. We’re looking to get better and beat them this year.” 

During the game against Cedar Creek Christian, McCrummin, a junior, went wild — rushing for 221 yards and four touchdowns. This season, he has 913 yards rushing, 13 rushing touchdowns and one receiving touchdown.

He said the reason for his success can be boiled down to one part of the team.

“The line and the receivers,” McCrummin said. “That’s it.”

As a junior, he knew he had to step up and contribute to help keep the team going. Although some may find that pressure to be daunting, McCrummin shrugged it off. 

“It was 50-50,” he said. “I didn’t know many of the new plays, but I’m doing pretty good so far. We just take it from here. I remember everything now.” 

While CFCA’s offense has been piling on high point totals, its defense has been keeping teams locked down. The Eagles have shut out two opponents so far this season.

Despite being an eighth-grader, Noah Maddox is the leading tackler on the team. With the loss of several seniors last year, Maddox knew this was his chance to step up and make plays for the team. 

“It feels good being able to step up after we lost a whole bunch of seniors last year,” he said. “I’ve got to shout out to my (defensive) line and my big men up front for enabling me to make plays and do what I do best — tackle.” 

Maddox attributes the Eagles’ turnaround on defense to the competition they have every day in practice against the CFCA offense, as well as the complete-team mentality the players have adopted.

“Iron sharpens iron,” he said. “No one (is) trying to be a superhero and trying to make plays on their own.”

Heading into his team’s last home game of the regular season before the playoffs against Bell Creek Academy, Campbell hopes his crew continues to stay focused and taking things one day at a time. 

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Chris Martucci is the sports editor for the West Orange Times & Observer,  Southwest Orange Observer and OrangeObserver.com. He holds a master's degree in journalism from the University of Missouri — Columbia School of Journalism, as well as a bachelor's degree in...

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