Southern Christian Continuing Mission in Year 3

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Southern Christian head coach at ACSA Media Days. PHOTO CONTRIBUTED BY SOUTHERN CHRISTIAN

By Wil Crews

sportscrews@opelikaobserver.com

OPELIKA —

The Southern Christian Patriots are continuing to build their roots in East Alabama as one of the premier programs for 8-man homeschool football.

Through a commitment to Christ, Southern Christian prepares youth to be better athletes and followers of the Lord through sport.

Entering year three, the Patriots are competing in the Alabama Christian Sports League. Self-proclaimed underdogs by head coach Jason Scott, Southern Christian is looking to continue to improve itself in 2022.

“We are very grateful and glad to be a part of a great conference,” Scott said at Media Days last week. “The standard here is high. We started three years ago probably way too late in the season to start football. We’ve had a pretty good run.”

Running back and linebacker Josiah Frick (left), and quarterback Noah Freeman (right).

2022 will be Scott’s first year as head coach of the Patriots, having previously had experience as an offensive line coach at other programs. The skipper thinks his team will make strides on the field this season due to new access and a commitment to the weight room.

“These guys have been working extremely hard this offseason,” Scott said. “I think the biggest impact on our team this year is going to be the weight room. We were gifted equipment by East Alabama Medical Center about a year ago. And then we were gifted a place to work out. God has provided for us. And that has been the story of Southern Christian.”

Scott and his wife decided to start Southern Christian three years ago based on the clear need in the community for a sports program for homeschooled student-athletes. 

“The way we got started was purely necessity,” Scott said. “My boys were coming to the football season and not having a place to play. Several guys came to me. There was nowhere for them to play in the Auburn-Opelika and Smiths Station area.”

Scott has taken it upon himself to dedicate time and effort to the Patriots’ program. The dividends are beginning to pay off, he said.

“I think this is my purpose in life,” Scott said of Southern Christian. “My experience has been that private schools don’t value the homeschoolers like we do. We are finally starting to see a little bit of rollover. Guys who have played are now coaching. Our philosophy at Southern Christian is, if God can give me a coach and enough players to play a sport, we will make sure it gets done.”

In terms of on-the-field product, the Patriots will have to replace their entire starting offensive and defensive line in 2022. Additionally, there are holes at quarterback and punter.

“We lost eight seniors,” Scott said. “But we are getting those homeschoolers into our program. We train them up basically from the ground floor up. It can be very tough but well worth it.”

Junior Josiah Frick and sophomore Noah Freeman are players Scott is counting on to replace some of the lost production.

“Last year I built my football IQ a lot and learned to be a leader,” Freeman said.

Like many in 8-man football, Frick and Freeman will line up in multiple positions to fill whatever needs the team has.

“Versatility just comes with the sport, especially 8-man football,” said Frick, who is slated to play linebacker and running back. “Since I started I was always playing different positions.”

In total, Southern Christian boasts seven or eight upperclassmen, Scott said. The youth and lack of pedigree only add to the motivation and opportunity that Southern Christian has going into this year.

“My guys are young,” Scott said. “We are very heavy in our ninth and 10th graders. We are glad to take on the team that is kind of the underdog, and we have some excellent athletes.”

Southern Christian will take the field on the road against Lighthouse on Aug. 26 and look to continue the progress it has made over the past three years.

“There is a lot of homeschool people in the Lee/Russell county area,” Scott said. “It’s taken us this long to get our name out there. Getting the word out there that we exist for homeschoolers and small private schools that don’t have any sports … that is amazing to see.”

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