High School Football/Spring Practice
Heritage Christian excited about program’s future
by Doug Gorman
The Heritage Christian football team might not have been able to match the tremendous success it had in 2012 during a trip to the Independent Christian Schools of Georgia and Alabama 8-man championship, but the Crusaders are ready to put a winless season behind them.
Head coach Paul Frantz is going do everything possible to make sure that happens.
It started with a good spring practice, concluding last Saturday when the the eight-man football team traveled to Montgomery and beat Meadowview 36-12 and Ezekiel 24-0 in a three-team jamboree.
“It was a good day,” he said. “We played the two teams back-to-back on a hot day and showed a lot of good signs.”
Meadowcreek scored its touchdowns early before the Crusaders’ defense settled down and began stopping both the run and the pass.
After giving up the two scores, the Crusaders didn’t allow a first down the rest of the way against Meadowcreek. Ezekiel’s only first down came on penalties.
The Crusaders are built around solid defense.
“I have always thought that in eight man football if you can hold a team to 30 points you should be able to outscore them,” he said.
After Saturday’s jamboree, there is a two-way battle at quarterback between Rodney Allen and Jared Farlow, who has returned to the school following a year at Trinity. Both helped the Crusaders move the ball Saturday.
However it starts up front for the Crusaders.
Brothers Jesse and Christian Parkinson and Noah Barrow are expected to play on both sides of the line.
“I have always said it starts on the line of scrimmage,” he said.
In addition to some of the veterans who are returning with hopes of leading the Crusaders to the playoffs, the team’s roster will be lined with newcomers.
“I think if you have never been exposed to eight-man football you might be surprised at how hard we work,” he said.
Frantz admits it was frustrating at times last season, but nobody ever gave up.
“We never lost the fire,” Frantz said. “The kids always worked and played hard.”
The Crusaders played their best football at the end of the year, especially against undefeated Harvester.
Heritage lost 36-30, but stayed in the game for four quarters.
“We had the ball late and a chance to win the game,” he said.
Frantz knows the tradition is three to get the Crusaders back on track.
Two years ago, the team played for the ICSGA state title, falling to rival Ballard, Ala., after beating them in the regular season.
Heritage Christian will be moving to the National Christian Athletic Association, and will compete in the American Christian Sports Conference against teams from Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi.
In addition to the league title, there will also be a chance to play for a national championship against other Christian Schools around the country in most sports, including football.
There are 16 football playing schools in the ACSC allowing the Crusaders to play a full schedule, something that hasn’t always happened.
“It will be the first time in years that we have been able to play a 10-game football schedule,” Heritage Athletic Director Buddy Woolf said earlier this year. “To me football was a big selling point.”
Frantz agrees, saying that it gives something for his team to look forward too.
“We are really excited about the future of the program,” Frantz said.
The coach is not giving his team too much downtime this summer.
“We were in the weightroom again 6:30 on Monday night,” he said. “Our kids are ready to work hard.”