With less than a minute to play, the CFCA Eagles clinging to a one-point lead and the host Cornerstone Charter Ducks in possession, a ballcarrier for Cornerstone fumbled.
Given the way the game had gone, it only seemed fitting that senior Caleb Brenyo — who had scored the Eagles’ first two touchdowns — would be the one to pick it up.
“A lot of players say this, but everything goes into slow-motion,” Brenyo recalled. “You pick it up and by the time I started running, I was like ‘this is going in the endzone — we got this.’”
Brenyo’s scoop-and-score paired with one last stand from the CFCA defense to seal the deal and give the program its 21-13 win — its first under new head coach Jeremy Campbell in his first regular season game as a head coach.
“It was great," Campbell said. "The kids came out, fought hard and grinded through the tough times."
Campbell’s roster skews young, with a large core of sophomores, and with that in consideration the first-year head coach is looking to players like Brenyo to set the tone.
“He’s been leading all summer,” Campbell said. “It’s definitely carried over — he had a huge game for us on Friday night.”
Brenyo wasn’t alone in his strong play, either. Macena Gay, a junior halfback, ran for 198 yards in the Eagles’ opener.
“He’s a workhorse — he does a lot for us,” Campbell said of Gay.
CFCA will now hope to carry that momentum over into this week’s home opener against West Oaks (0-1). West Oaks was thoroughly defeated by The First Academy 47-0 in Week One, though it is hard to gauge much from that considering the Royals were a district champion and playoff team in Class 3A in 2016.
One thing both Campbell and Brenyo feel good about following the Week One victory is that, given the fashion it came in, this young team learned something about itself.
“The majority of the guys on our team are 15 — they’re sophomores,” Brenyo said. “They stepped up — they bought in and they played well.”
When the Eagles did get the final stop in the game’s waning seconds, they had to run one last play to run out the clock. That meant Campbell got to make a playcall that he and his staff had not even got around to practicing yet: the Victory Formation.
“It was kind of neat to call a timeout and install it on the fly,” Campbell said.