2017 Football Camp Series: Santa Clarita Christian

Santa Clarita Christian's Ethan Schwesinger catches a pass during a route-running drill at practice on Friday, August 18, 2017. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

As much as Santa Clarita Christian football players Caden Brenner and Ethan Schwesinger are thankful to have rehabbed their ACL tears together last season, it doesn’t mean they weren’t counting down the days to their return.

“I’ve been waiting for this for so long,” said Brenner, who hauled in a team-high 80 passes for 1,036 yards and 15 touchdowns as a sophomore in 2015.

“I did the math, and by week one against St. Bernard (on Aug. 26), we will not have played a football game for 650 days,” said Schwesinger, who caught 37 passes for 542 yards as a freshman in 2015. “Almost two years. So I’m pumped. I just can’t wait.”

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Brenner tore his ACL during seven-on-seven competition on May 19, 2016, but he didn’t realize it until a month later. Schwesinger tore his ACL that June in seven-on-seven and knew right away.

Santa Clarita Christian’s Caden Brenner catches a pass during a route running drill on Friday, August 18, 2017. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

“It was terrible,” Schwesinger said.

The injuries dealt a blow to SCCS’s offense, but the Cardinals were able to withstand it because of spectacular depth at the position.

Behind receivers Jacob Moss and Tyler Kalinske, SCCS won six of its final eight games, finally bowing out in the CIF-Southern Section Division 13 quarterfinals.

It tortured Schwesinger and Brenner to watch from the sideline.

“It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do,” Brenner said.

Together they rehabbed two or three days a week at Vargo Physical Therapy in Canyon Country. It was nice, they said, to have a teammate there going through the same process.

“It brought us closer,” Schwesinger said.

With the graduation of Moss and Kalinske, the now-healthy duo will have larger roles to play in 2017. Moss is the program’s all-time leading receiver, and Kalinske was un-coverable for most of last year.

Brenner is playing Moss’ old position and said he expects to take on the role of a go-to wideout.

Both should provide security blankets for first-year starting quarterback Blake Kirshner.

“It’s really good to say the very least,” SCCS coach Chazz Anderson said of having the receivers back. “… More importantly even than their ability between the white lines is the kind of men that they are – men of character.”

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