It seemed last year no team in the area had more going for it than the Calvary Christian Knights. Loaded with talent and experience, the Knights seemed destined to capture a state title for the first time in school history. In the end, the Knights came out as the region champs but finished the season with a 5-6 record.
It was a big lesson for all concerned.
“Talent does not always bring home state championships,” said Knights head coach Brian Osborne. “We had by far our most talented team in Calvary football history last year, but we tried to rely on talent alone to win.”
This fall, the Knights will field a team missing 14 seniors from last year. All 14 of those seniors were starting players as well. It will be a rebuilding year, as some like to call it, but there are definitely some good things about the 2017 team.
Osborne will have only four returning offensive starters and two returning defensive starters. However, those athletes should anchor the program and provide some highlights for after-game discussions.
Quarterback Kasen Andrews will be back this fall. The 6’4” and 205 lbs. athlete was the team leader in passing last season. He had 233 attempts for 1852 total yards and was also the leading scorer with 28 touchdowns. The team’s leading receiver, Bryce Andrews (WR/SS), 6’4” and 205 lbs., is also returning. He had 36 receptions for 741 total yards. Incidentally, Kasen and Bryce Andrews are twin brothers.
In addition to them, Calvary will be returning Chad McNeal (OL/DL), 5’10” and 220 lbs., Jacob Evangelista (OL), 5’11” and 175 lbs., and Aaron Christopher (WR), 6’3” and 170 lbs.
Calvary began their football program less than a decade ago. Osborne has been the head football coach for the Knights from the beginning. Going into his seventh season, Osborne knows it will be a different team.
“Last year we were a senior heavy team with 14 seniors and all 14 started,” he said. “This year, we will be going back to the basics as we will be relying on several younger players in starting roles. I still expect us to repeat as region champions. We have talent, just not as much overall game experience.”
Under Osborne’s leadership, the Knights plan to run the football to set up pass plays. On defense, the strategy includes limiting the big plays, with the intention of making the offense drive down the field.
Despite the loss of so many veteran players, Osborne hasn’t lowered the bar on his expectations for the 2017 team. His first and foremost goal for his team is to “glorify God on the field.” Secondly, to repeat as Region Champions and, third, to make another run at the state championship.
This season, the Knights will have a new face on the coaching staff. Levi Dunn, son of college defensive coordinator Joe Lee Dunn, has been added to coach wide receivers and assist with defensive backs.
The 2017 season will be interesting for Calvary. Going back to the basics is not a bad starting point for a team and Osborne is realistic about his team’s chances.
“We will have to focus on the fundamentals and our techniques have to be perfect,” he said. “We will not be as big or fast as last year, so we will have to have sound technique.”
Columbus Valley/Fall Football Preview/August 2017
Calvary Christian School
By Beth Welch