Heritage Christian picks new athletic league
by Doug Gorman
When Heritage Christian School begins the new academic year starting in August, their athletic teams will have a new home.
After competing in the Independent Christian Schools of Georgia and Alabama athletic league, the private school located in Sharpsburg off of Hwy 34 is moving on.
Heritage Christian will join the National Christian Schools Athletic Association after a lengthy search that included looking closely at joining the Georgia Independent Schools Association, where area private schools Trinity Christian and the Heritage School now compete.
Since some Heritage Christian athletes are homeschooled, the Crusaders are ineligble to join the GISA.
The move to a new league became necessary when the ICSGA announced it was folding the end of this school year.
Heritage has had plenty of success in the ICSGA, winning titles in both boys and girls basketball this season and competing for the 8-man league title two years ago. Saturday the school’s softball team also played in the double-elimination state tournament at Columbus State.
However, new athletic director Buddy Woolf thinks the school has found a perfect fit in the league that has membership all across the country.
Heritage will compete in the American Christian Sports Conference against teams from Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi, as a part of the NCSAA.
“The way the league is structured competitively, it is a little bit like college, especially in basketball and volleyball,” Woolf said. “They take a certain number from each conference to a national tournament. There won’t be state championships, there will be conference championships, and when we presented it to the kids, they thought it was pretty cool.”
There are 16 teams in the ACSC that field 8-man football teams. It guarantees the Crusaders a full football schedule, something that hasn’t always been the case.
“It will be the first time in years we will be able to have a 10 game football schedule,” Woolf said. “To me, the football was a selling point.”
Joining the new association is a sign Heritage Christian is putting a renewed emphasis on athletics.
This coming school Heritage Christian will begin fielding teams in golf and soccer.
“I think (Principal) Bill Parsons and I are on the same page when it comes to this. I think in a way, at private school, athletics can be the lifeblood of the school. It certainly can give you branding to the community,” Woolf said. That is where you are going to read about a school.”
It is no way changes Heritage Christian Schools ultimate goal—to give its students a Christian-based education.
“We want to win games and be competitive,” Woolf said. “Everybody wants to do that, but we also want to have programs everybody can respect.”
Several of the schools that will be on Heritage’s future schedules have built strong programs including Evangel Christian in Alabama which is a two-time defending national champion in football and the defending champion in volleyball.
Most of the schools in Heritage’s new conference were from Alabama, but the conference has rebranded itself to include several schools from Georgia and Mississippi starting next year.
“They knew this was a contract year, so they were smart to go after this new schools from Georgia and Mississippi. I was impressed by the leadership of this league,” Woolf said.
Heritage Christian has signed a two year contract to compete in the NCSAA, but Woolf thinks the school could be there for the long term.
“We haven’t totally ruled out going GISA some day,” Woolf admitted. “But we feel very comfortable where we are at, and could be here awhile.”