Team unity is important for every team. Especially this one because there are students from three schools on this co-op team. 12 from Christian Life, nine from Our Lady of Sacred Heart and one from Keith, and they’re all blending together.
“They’re doing really well,” says head coach Bill Shepard. “What you see is what you get and they’re working really, really hard trying to do the best they can.”
Shepard was Christian Life’s head coach the last two years. At the moment this co-op team doesn’t have a nickname. Christian Life is the Eagles. Our Lady of Sacred Heart was the Guardians.
Last year Our Lady of Sacred Heart fielded it’s first football team, but it was a struggle with only 14 players on the roster trying to play 11 man football. The Guardians lost every game.
“We’re still the Guardians,” says Our Lady of Sacred Heart student Paul Bageanis a running back and linebacker. “We loved having our own team, but at the end of the day we get to play football and that’s what really matters.”
Without the co-op Our Lady of Sacred Heart would not have had enough players to field a team this year. Christian Life would have had enough to play on in eight-man football but not by many.
This team will play in the eight-man league again and it’ll stay that way at least until the numbers go up and a feeder program is strengthened.
“Our goal right now as far as the co-op is concerned we’re eight-man for the next two years and then we’ll assess it in the spring of our second year,” says Shepard.
Shepard likes the talent that the players have from Our Lady of Sacred Heart. “They’ve got some good ball players. They’ve got really great attitudes.”
“It’s blended beautifully,” says Christian Life student and defensive end Zach Mershon. “We’re out here practicing as a team. It’s amazing to kind of see everyone come together and play.”
Mershon was a first team all-conference defensive end in the eight man league. Bageanis played running back and he rushed for almost one thousand yards last year for Our Lady of Sacred Heart. Christian Life sophomore David King will be the quarterback for this team. He played that spot last year even as a freshman. Max Frield and Matthew Adas will be two top receivers. The offensive line is a work in progress. Everything is a work in progress, but it beats the alternative of having no football at all.