Given what Richmond Academy and coach Frank Caputo have been through already this season, it felt especially nice to get that first victory.
"We lost to three very good football teams, and I was thrilled for the kids when they won last Friday," said Caputo, whose Musketeers face Greenbrier (2-2, 1-2) on the road Friday at Evans High School, coming off a 21-13 over Glenn Hills, to improve to 1-3 overall, 1-2 in Region 3-AAA.
ARC dropped its first three to Greene-Taliaferro, Josey and Burke County. At the conclusion of ARC's heated battle with the rival Eagles, the defending Class AAA champs, Caputo had a major scare when he collapsed.
But quickly, the 41-year-old was back to work once he received a clean bill of health and, now, he hopes his once-struggling Musketeers are on the fast road to recovery, as well.
"The kids probably had gotten a little disgusted with me talking about keeping faith," Caputo said. "They're young and we had to deal with injuries and inexperience, but I never stopped believing in them. Hopefully, they're becoming believers in themselves and will keep this thing going."
For a team loaded with sophomores, there have been growing pains, as expected. Caputo believes, though, the adversity will pay off down the road.
"It's real promising for the future but I'm coaching them right now to win," Caputo said. "I'm not coaching them differently because we have so many sophomores, and I hope that's going to help them learn and grow."
Quarterback Davis Beamon is one of a growing list of sophomores making an impact for ARC. Last week, Beamon came off the bench to rally the Musketeers in the second half against Glenn Hills. Sophomore Larry Lee, who started the season at defensive back, ran for two scores in the second half against the Spartans. Jahmal Rainey put the game away late with an 82-yard kickoff return touchdown, and Muhammad Rashada intercepted a Marcus Walker pass with three minutes left in the game to seal it for ARC.
Sophomore kicker Chris Adams has kicked field goals of 25, 32, 35 and 37 yards and sophomore linemen Adam Wiley, Finnis Messick and Rodney Smith are also improving each week.
Holding all that youth together are a steady trio of seniors - two-way lineman Travers Paine, linebacker Gerald Rutherford and linebacker/running back Corey Taylor. Rutherford and Paine both are receiving attention from Division I recruiters.
"I'm so proud of the way they responded last week," Caputo said. "They're young, but getting better each week."