With a 59-0 win over Youth Christian on Friday night, North Georgia Christian closed its second season of high school football. It was the fourth win of the season for the small private school nestled behind Westminster Presbyterian Church on Thompson Bridge Road, and while it didn’t give the Chargers (4-5) a winning record, it did demonstrate the strides the fledgling program has made.
In the mind of athletics director Danny McGill, there’s one big reason he believes the Chargers will soon be ready to make the jump from eight-man football, to the more familiar 11-man version played in GHSA and GISA.
“I attribute it to a phenomenal coach,” McGill said, referring to Chargers coach David Stevens, who took over this season for a team that went 1-7 in 2007 and returned only a handful of players.
“We’ve got a coach now that knows how to teach the basics, and knows how to teach kids to play football.”
Stevens spent his past 34 years as a public educator and coach, spending time at North Hall, East Hall and various other schools in northeast Georgia before joining the North Georgia Christian staff last year.
He’s seen enough football to know the Chargers are getting there, but they’re not quite ready to make the leap to the 11-man game.
“We were pretty competitive in most of our games,” Stevens said. “I’d say we’re at mid-level right now. Last year we weren’t very competitive at all. We’re still not competitive against the top teams, but the mid- and lower-level teams, we did pretty well against.
“I feel like we need to get to a point where we can compete with the upper-echelon teams before we move up.”
The hope, McGill says, is that day is on the horizon. North Georgia Christian, which opened its high school as Westminster Christian School in 2002, is preparing to move into a new facility in South Hall, “hopefully by next school year,” McGill said.
With the new facility, will come more students, and with more students will come more football players.
At least that’s the plan. This year the Chargers fielded a 14-man roster. According to Stevens, the team needs not only more bodies, but bigger ones as well before it’s ready to make even greater strides.
“We just don’t have enough linemen right now,” he said. “We hope that our players are enjoying playing and going back and telling their friends about it. Hopefully when you’ve got a good thing going, the word will spread.”
Outgoing senior lineman Caleb Purcell believes the program is headed in the right direction.
“It was definitely better than last year,” Purcell said. “Like coach said, we were competitive in most of our games, and it was just a lot more enjoyable and we learned a lot more stuff. “