Fledgling Maranatha Christian Academy football program eases into varsity play
MCA (0-5 IN ‘12)
• 10/11 at Summit Christian Aca.
• 10/18 at Wentworth Military Aca.
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Maranatha Christian Academy’s first-year football coach Bryan Burdette is perhaps the most football-minded coaches the young Eagles team has seen since it established its football program.
“I’m optimistic, but my goal would be by next year to play a (full) varsity schedule,” Burdette said. “But playing schools our own size.”
The fall’s schedule has Maranatha starting the season playing five junior varsity games, one at home, and two varsity games in October. A few teams on the schedule are in the same situation as Maranatha: In order to effectively improve the football program, it’s best to play competition from the smaller schools. Gauging the team against long-established programs isn’t an accurate measure of progress.
During Burdette’s summer camp, about 20 student-athletes showed up to practice on a consistent basis, which compared to bigger schools isn’t that much. But consider the ratio.
“Percentage-wise, it’s about the same,” Burdette said. “But 10 percent for us is a kid, or more than that. When we miss one kid, it’s a lot different.”
Therefore, expectations coming into this season are going to be relative to Maranatha football, not to bigger 2A schools such as McLouth or Meade.
Also, the Eagles are going to spend a lot of time on the road, having just one home game against Oskaloosa on Monday, Oct. 7. Burdette said that he embraces that scheduling because traveling is an inevitable part of football and it rids players of the distractions of home, if nothing else.
“It’s something that you might as well enjoy,” Burdette said.
The roster isn’t finalized yet, but a few veterans — Max Flint, Brady West, Ben Kynion, Sam Welch, Chase Gourley and Parker Nash — were around camp all summer. With the Eagles coming off a 0-5 2012 season, Burdette is trying to get them confident and competitive.
As with any new coaching situation, Burdette inherited a culture that he is now trying to mold into his own, such as his coaching philosophy and changing the “M” decals on the helmets. But he’s not going to overstep his boundaries.
“A lot of coaches come in and it’s their way or the highway,” Burdette said. “I’m not like that. Obviously, you’ve got to be like that in a certain way, but also you have give kids room to learn and grow.”
Stay tuned next week for a preview of area fall sports teams.