The Crusaders season overview:
Sept. 5 vs. Calvary Christian (Columbus), 28-14 loss
Sept. 12 vs. Sand Hill Titans (Fayetteville), 44-28 win
Sept. 20 vs. Johnson Ferry (Marietta), 42-27 win
Sept. 26 vs. Greenville Hurricanes (Greenville, S.C.), 43-0 win
Oct. 3 vs. Coastal Hurricanes (Pembroke), 46-6 win
Oct. 17 vs. King’s Academy (Marietta), 34-0 win
Oct. 31 at Robert Toombs (Lyons) 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 7, vs Goshen Academy, 7:30 p.m. at Long County Recreation Department
Faith Baptist Christian Academy will wrap up the home portion of its first 11-man season on Nov. 7 when it hosts Goshen Academy at 7:30 at Long County Recreation Department football field in Ludowici.
The game was originally scheduled to be played Oct. 24 but had to be postponed.
The Crusaders, who are going for their sixth-straight win, have fielded an eight-man team for quite some time. But this year, under the guidance of first-year head coach Larry Wiley, FBCA has jumped into the 11-man system of play.
“When I came here, I told them I wanted to coach an 11-man team … They said they didn’t have anybody to take them into that phase, so that is where I am at,” he said. “I am trying to get them to move their program forward and get everything going.”
The coach said the team plays in a prep league that allows FBCA to recruit players from across the nation. Being that this is the Crusaders’ first year in the league, they are not ranked or in a specific division yet. But most of this season’s opponents play in the Coastal-South League of the National Homeschool Football Association.
“Right now, we have players from Nigeria, a couple of players from New York, from Detroit and one from Virginia, so we’ve been recruiting from all over now and just trying to help kids get into college … that is what we are trying to do,” Wiley said.
The Crusaders had a sluggish start this season, but have won five straight after losing their first game.
“We started out a little rusty … I mean, our first game…we only had four-five players coming to practice for the first couple of weeks and then all our players finally came in, like, two days before the game,” Wiley said. “So we were rusty at that first game. But now we have things going, and we have a big game (Nov. 7) against Goshen, and they have a lot of Division I players on that team and they are a pretty big team, so we are looking forward to it.”
Wiley said posting a win against a highly ranked school will get his players some recognition and help the team earn rankings next season.
The coach added that it took a little adjusting to break through cultural and language differences, but the players all respect each other and all play with two goals in mind: winning and getting recruited for the next level.
“Our thing is to get them ready for the college level … When the recruiters come around, we give them the information for the kids, and if they are interested in someone, we pull that player to the side and let them know that someone is interested in them … I think I have at least three division one players and the rest will go division two or three,” Wiley said.
The coach said he kept the game plan simple.
“My basic offensive scheme is the I-formation with a split back,” he said, adding he has a few other plays he can run at any given moment. “If we run across a team that is causing us problems, then I will break out one of my other formations and see how they react to it. I’m the kind of coach that whatever they are doing, I am going to counter it. On our defense, we run the 4-3 keeping it basic.”
As the players walked through plays during Tuesday’s practice, they looked composed and ready for a showdown.
Wiley said it is time for his football team to make a little noise.
“We want people to know we are here, and we plan to make a little name for ourselves,” he said.