A balanced offense and hard-hitting defense led the Eagles to a big win over FA-Leesburg.
It may have rained throughout CFCA’s senior night Friday, Oct. 18, but there were no long faces by games end as the Eagles dominated First Academy-Leesburg in a big 45-12 victory.
After a season that started 0-3, the Eagles (3-5) have rebounded nicely over the past five game’s and were almost perfect in their win over First Academy-Leesburg (4-4).
“We finally came together and played together as a team,” said CFCA Head Coach Jeremy Campbell. “On both sides of the ball guys are finally starting to click a little bit and are starting to play for each other. When they play for their brothers next to them results like this happen.”
A big part of Friday night’s outcome was thanks largely to a balance of offense and defense for the Eagles, which showed up early.
Right out of the gate the Eagles’ defense forced FA-Leesburg to punt after holding on third down, then the offense came out firing.
A few plays following a big toss from quarterback Nathan O’Dell to Daveon Reynolds, Wilkerson St. Juste stampeded to his first touchdown of the night on a 14-yard run. The PAT would hand the Eagles the early 7-0 lead with 8:11 left in the first quarter.
FA-Leesburg would respond on the very next drive, as quarterback Nick Jackson would hit Bryce Cherry on a 16-yard touchdown pass. The following PAT was emphatically blocked by a leaping Reynolds to maintain the Eagles 7-6 lead with 54 second left in the opening quarter.
The back-and-forth scoring continued as the Eagles stormed downfield to the FA-Leesburg 1-yard line — thanks to a run by St. Juste — but this time it was O’Dell who called his number for the 1-yard QB keeper. Though the extra point was partially blocked it still somehow made it through the uprights to make it 14-6 with 9:52 left in the half.
FA-Leesburg’s next drive would see the away side score on a wide-receiver pass from Treavon Cummings to Justin Sombelon for six, before Reynolds would snag a pick on the proceeding two-point conversion attempt. The Eagles’ lead would be cut to 14-12, but that would be as close as FA-Leesburg would get, as the Eagles went on to totally shut out FA-Leesburg’s offense for the rest of the game.
“They had those two fluke plays in the first half where it’s busted coverage, but the defense, we tell them all the time, ‘Bend, but don’t break,’ and they definitely did that tonight,” Campbell said.
From there the Eagles’ offense went off.
After St. Juste had a 64-yard touchdown run called back for holding with 3:38 left in the half, the Eagles had some trickery of their own to show.
Wide receiver Keenan Milroy took the direct snap before tossing the ball behind the line of scrimmage to O’Dell, who then heaved it around 35 yards downfield to Nyjal Davis who proceeded to shake off tackles left-and-right for the 45-yard touchdown as the half expired. The score and extra point put the Eagles ahead 21-12 going into the break, but Campbell stressed to his guys that it wasn’t over.
“We made corrections, but before leaving the locker room I tell them, ‘There is nothing less important than the score at halftime’ — that’s something that Coach (Dabo) Swinney taught me when I was at Clemson,” Campbell said.
While hindsight is 20/20, the game was over as soon as the Eagles stepped back onto the field.
In the third quarter O’Dell once again picked up another short-rushing touchdown, while Reynolds would grab his first touchdown of the night on a 15-yard scamper. Then, in the last quarter of play, Jajuan Preaster hauled in a 12-yard touchdown, before St. Juste capped off the night with his second score of the night on a blistering 57-yard touchdown run.
“I felt good, because I wanted to show out for my brother (Lidney St. Juste) — it’s his senior night and his last year,” St. Juste said. “I wanted to prove it to all the seniors that I’m going to do it for them and the team, and show them what I got.”
The Eagles will look to keep the train rolling as they host winless Jupiter Christian (0-8) Thursday, Oct. 24.