BY CORY WOODROOF
The Brentwood Bruins and Christ Presbyterian Lions met out at Brentwood’s place last Tuesday, though not for reasons you might think.
Instead of bringing their A-game, the Lions brought grills, hamburger patties and folks ready to cook and prepare.
CPA wasn’t there to win. They were there to serve.
As the Brentwood community continues to heal after the the tragic loss of junior football player Lucas Davis, CPA head coach Ingle Martin reached out to Brentwood head coach Ron Crawford with an invitation.
“Coach Martin had reached out to me toward the end of [the week prior] and said that the CPA family and football team would like to feed our kids after practice,” Crawford said. “Obviously, I said ‘thank you very much, and that would be awesome.'”
After the school day ended, folks from the CPA community, from parents to football seniors/some underclassmen and coaches, began to arrive on the school’s campus with the requisite supplies to hold a cookout.
“They fed our kids and our staff a great meal,” Crawford said. “The [CPA] kids were so gracious with their time and their energy. We were just humbled and grateful. The Davis family was able to attend.”
To Crawford, the meal was an overwhelming showing of kindness.
“It was just a cool deal between communities of support,” he said.
“I felt like they were really, really being mindful and thoughtful of our kids and our school. [It was] just very humbling, and [I was] so grateful that they would take the time to do that for us, and we just can’t thank them enough. It was cool to see our kids enjoy it, and cool for their seniors to come and be a part of it.”
Crawford said after the meal, he, Martin and CPA’s Steve Haywood sat in Crawford’s office and talked until midnight.
“They really poured in to me; they really poured into our team,” Crawford said. “It was an awesome event…we’re just so thankful and so grateful and so blessed to have neighbors like this.”
Community continues outpouring of support
Crawford was complimentary of the overall outreach from the community, saying he knew the support system would be there for his team.
“It’s why we’re proud to be where we’re at,” Crawford said.”Everybody’s handling it the best they can. We’re all traveling down a new road, something we’re not familiar with.”
He said head coach of big Brentwood rival Ravenwood, Matt Daniels, was the first to reach out to him following the news. Daniels shared with Crawford that the Raptors plan to wear “74” on their helmets to honor Davis’ passing.
Crawford also cites an effort made by fellow Stewarts Creek, who recently had freshman and junior varsity games scheduled with the school, to present a gift and partake in a time of prayer in response to the moment.
To Crawford, this trying time has highlighted one of the fundamental truths about competitive sports; it brings out so much more than points scored and games won and lost.
He says it’s about the lessons you learn, the adversities you grow to overcome and the people you meet along the way.
“It’s the whole deal of understanding that sports matter, but bigger than sport are relationships,” he said. “Bigger than the game are relationships, and it’s what high school football should be about.”
Brentwood moving through difficult time in wake of loss
It’s never easy for anyone to make their way through someone’s passing, let alone an entire football team mourning the loss of a valued member.
Crawford said getting back into a routine has proven to be one of the most effective ways to heal in the short-term.
“It’s been good for all of us, players and coaches, to get back to practicing football, to get back to, I guess, ‘our new normal’,” Crawford said. “That’s been awesome.”
The Bruins coach said he wanted to make sure the program followed the appropriate schedule of activities in response to such a difficult time.
“We stuck with our guns,” Crawford said. “We did what we said we were going to do. We didn’t want to bring [the team] in unless it was truly meaningful.”
Losing Davis wasn’t the only challenge the team faced in the time since. A leading receiver on the team, Avery Williams, lost his grandmother not long after.
To the coach, moments like this highlight age-old life truths that all of us could use a reminder in every now and again.
“I hope all of this has motivated us to love harder, and to play harder, and to study harder, and just to do everything, and be so appreciative of each and every day.”
Bruins to push on with playoffs on way
Brentwood will continue to move on this difficult time as the team enters its home season finale against Centennial in what’s been a season of big victories, on-the-spot growth and sudden tragedy.
Crawford entered the year with a lot of youth on his team, from a defense with few starts between them to a sophomore starting at quarterback. He was very complimentary of how his young Bruins squad has navigated through it.
“We’ve played good football all but about six quarters,” the coach said. “Our team has showed a lot of grit and resilience.”
Though no result in football is guaranteed, the coach said he hopes his Bruins will take things a week at a time after the month they’ve had and play the game with joy, energy and passion and selflessness.
“For us, it’s been, ‘let’s just get back and play a game,'” Crawford said. “‘The whole world worries about what’s next. Let’s enjoy the moment.'”
Get back and play a game, they did. Since then, the Bruins defeated Marshall Co. on the road 28-18, improving to 7-2 on the season.
Photos provided by Coach Crawford