Trinity Christian welcomes new field, faces in 2013
by Chris Goltermann
The road to respectability with a high school football program can’t be measured in a 40-yard dash or four consecutive quarters. It takes time.
But Trinity Christian continues to get closer and closer to the end zone — two, actually in 2013.
Three years after winning an 8-man state championship and one season removed from the Lions making their debut in the GISA playoffs, the school is set to play its first ‘home’ schedule after hosting games at East Coweta Middle School for the last four years.
Trinity’s new stadium expects to be completed by the time the Lions’ first home game rolls around on Sept. 20, against Flint River following three consecutive road trips to open the 2013 season.
Concrete for stadium seating has already been poured to go along with the turf field, lighting, goalposts and scoreboard. It’ll be the first unveiling of Trinity’s “Lions Call” expansion project, which also includes a home baseball field this spring, where new fencing and a scoreboard are already in place.
It’s just one reason why there’s a heightened level of anticipation at Trinity following a 6-5 year.
“We’ll be on the new field this year and the kids are definitely excited about that,” third-year head coach Chris Hanson said. “It’s been a gradual process.”
The Lions will also hold practices adjacent to Immanuel Baptist Seminary off Highway 34 on a field that nearly triples the size from the one it has used on its high school campus off Highway 154 at the former Crossroads Church site.
“We can do a lot more out here. Our numbers are growing, which is good. We’ve picked up some more kids between our younger athletes and some new ones. We’ve also had a couple that didn’t play football last year come back out,” Hanson said. “I think some of that comes just in the growth of the school in general. But some of it could also be to us having a better season last year.”
Despite contending for a Region 1-AAA crown during a season highlighted by a win over Tattnall Square to ruin the Macon power’s homecoming festivities, a quick first-round playoff exit still left plenty of room for improvement according to third-year head coach Chris Hanson.
“We had some success, which was good for us. But in no way were we satisfied with it,” Hanson said. “We lost some talented players that were with us last year, but the thing I really like about this group is that it’s one of the best team atmosphere’s we’ve had since I’ve been at Trinity. Everybody understands their role and understands they have a job to do.”
The Lions hope to benefit from an influx of freshmen from last year’s middle school program, led by Brian Grady, that captured the school’s first Metro Area Christian Athletic Conference title.
“The guys who played for Brian, they’re still young, but there’s a mental toughness that we don’t have to worry about,” Hanson said.
Among last year’s roster of 36 players, Trinity will have to replace its two leading rushers, as well as starting quarterback Connor Adams. The Lions’ two defensive leaders from a year ago — lineman Drew Gibson and linebacker Edwin Rivera — also graduated before moving on to play at Air Force and Berry, respectively.
Standout lineman Mark Collier, an anchor on both sides of the ball, also graduated.
Trinity’s staff also went through some changes, with assistant Jeff Weaver taking over the offense while mirroring son J.P. as the Lions’ pair of coordinators.
Hanson also picked up new assistants in Kelby Holt and Andy Coggins, both of whom previously were with former 8-man rival Heritage Christian. Holt will coach the secondary and receivers while Coggins will handle the offensive line.
The duo join new assistant Tyler Dunn.
“All of them played at some level, which is important,” Hanson said. “More importantly, they’re great quality men and great Christian men.”