When Gideon was overmatched by the Midianites 135,000 to 32,000, he sought direction from God who reduced his army to 300. God won the victory over the Midianites, bringing glory to himself through the courage of those men willing to do battle with a united heart in God. The Israelite victory shocked the world.
When the CAL football team faced the largest school in the state of Kentucky, Coach LeFors reminded the team that they play for God, not for man; and each team is allowed only 11 men on the field for each play. With that confidence, Chad Lewellyn, Nate Smith, Rider Sparrow and Zach “Bonecrusher” Page marched to the center of the field to meet the opposition for the coin toss. The Centurion representation deferred the advantage of having the ball first to give Eastern every opportunity in the battle.
Nathan Bader kicked the ball to the Eagles, leading CAL into battle. After an initial bulge of 18 yards, the Eagles offense stalled upon the fearsome front four of Page, Jake Paulson, Michael Lagestee and Jed Clay. The secondary flank of Sparrow, Lewellyn, Smith, Zac Passafiume, and Bill Jessee protected the end zone from an aerial attack.
After the Eastern stall, Nathan Christmas brought the Centurions on the field to take ground from the opponent. Christmas went 5 for 5 for 56 yards and a touchdown on the first CAL drive of the game. After catching the touchdown, Passafiume snuck into the end zone to receive the pass from Tanner Young for a 2-point conversion while the rest of the field was looking for a kick to put CAL up 8-0.
The defense continued the shutdown of the Eagles offense which failed to move the ball more than a few yards. Sparrow proved mightier than the Eagles, with 8 solo tackles and 2 assists for the game. Jessee added some tough hits on drive diminishing tackles when Eastern tried to run outside the tackles. Smith, Lewellyn and Passafiume all collected interceptions. Chuck Williams recovered a fumble for a total of 4 turnovers in the game for the CAL defense as they also held Eastern to less than 100-yards rushing for the game.
While Eastern sputtered, the CAL offense thrived. Christmas completed his first 9 passes with 3 going to Cody Davis on pivotal third and fourth down conversions. Lewellyn collected 54 yards receiving and game’s second touchdown, which put the Centurions ahead 15-0 after a successful Bader PAT. Eastern managed a touchdown late in the second quarter to move within striking distance at 15-7 at the half.
Peyton Griffee, Blake Catron, Evan Wilson, Lagestee and Clay then laid the foundation for the highway of Payne–Nick Payne. Payne broke out with a 43-yard touchdown run, putting CAL ahead by two scores. With the momentum, the CAL defense quickly returned the ball to the offense. Payne took the ball into the end zone again pushing the score to 29-7. That momentum sprung from Bader’s foot as he sent two kick-off’s into the end zone for touchbacks. After a touchdown reception from the Eagles, Payne finished off the scoring with a 31-yard touchdown run.
With the final minutes ticking away, Eastern moved inside the 5-yard line against the battle and weather fatigued Centurion troops. In an effort of heart since the game had been decided, the defense stood strong for four last gasps to keep the ball out of the end zone and preserve the final score: 36-19. With the heart and courage of David, Gideon, Joshua–with the heart and Spirit of Christ, CAL football achieved victory against a 6A football opponent for the first time in school history, shocking the Eagles and the Louisville football community–but no surprise to the Centurion nation.