Brentwood redefined the term quick-strike offense Tuesday.
Many of the more than 500 ardent fans who filled the bleachers and lined up outside the ropes at Brentwood High School had not even silenced and tucked away their cellphones before the Indians struck.
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Nine seconds into the game, Brentwood senior forward Alejandro Callejas took a pass from senior Rayneri Ruiz and scored from the right wing. The goal may have happened in an instant, but its impact lasted for the remaining 79 minutes and 51 seconds of the Indians' 1-0 victory over Commack that clinched them at least a tie for the Suffolk I title.
"That definitely was a first. I've never scored that quickly in my life,'' said Callejas, who also scored the game-winner in a 3-2 victory over defending state champion Commack on Sept. 21. "It was crazy. I couldn't believe it. It was perfect.''
The play unfolded off the opening whistle, when star midfielder Jefferson Portillo chipped a pass to Ruiz, who lofted it over the defense.
"Ray placed it right to my feet and I just put it on net,'' Callejas said. "I was hoping we scored more, but it was a relief to be ahead.''
The Indians (11-0) might have scored more if not for the superb play of keeper Ryan Sinnott. He made seven saves for the Cougars (8-3), including two from point-blank range.
"That's the fastest goal to start a game that I've ever seen,'' said Ron Eden, who has seen more than most. This is his 36th season on the Indians' staff, the last 20 as their head coach. "Jeff got it to Ray and Alejandro finished with a great shot. After it went in, I looked at the clock and said to my coaches: 'Nine seconds!' ''
Brentwood's defense made it stand up with a solid team effort that allowed goalkeeper Jayson Murillo (four routine saves) to register his seventh consecutive shutout.
"We're proud of our team defense. We want to keep our goalie safe,'' said fullback Eric Bustillo, who was busy with both his head and feet in protecting the box. "Keep the ball on the ground and keep it moving.''
Fellow fullback Marcos Buruca also was part of the Indians' active and mobile defense. "It's all about working together,'' Buruca said. "We went for every ball that we could. It was hard to protect the lead for that long.''
That's what happens when your team strikes so quickly.