North River Christian going independent in football
Mon. June 17, 2013 at 11:23 p.m. | By Tommy Deas
North River Christian will partner with the Tuscaloosa Home Educators and use homeschooled players for 2013. (Photo by Stewart Gwin | Tuscaloosa News)
TUSCALOOSA | North River Christian Academy is leaving the Christian Football Association for the 2013 season and will play as an independent eight-man football program.
The move will allow North River Christian to field a team that includes homeschooled students, something not allowed under CFA rules. The CFA, based in Gardendale, is a governing organization for eight- and six-man football in Alabama and Mississippi. North River Christian has formed an alliance with Tuscaloosa Home Educators, which fields teams of home-schooled athletes in several sports, to form a roster.
“The Tuscaloosa Home Educators were not going to have enough kids to form a football team,” said Todd Jones, athletics director at North River Christian. “We decided we were going to go independent like Notre Dame (which is not a conference member in college football) and be able to have a team.
“The main reason is we just didn’t think we had what it took, we weren’t going to have the players and students to make a team to be able to compete. It’s just this one sport. It takes a lot more players to form a team, especially when you’re talking about a junior varsity and a varsity.”
North River Christian will continue as a member of the Alabama Independent School Association in other sports. AISA has football, but only the 11-man variety.
“We’re going to stick with the eight-man,” Jones said. “We will be playing teams in Birmingham and Montgomery, and there’s a couple we’re talking with right now in Auburn and Dothan.”
So far, it looks like North River Christian won’t be playing rival Tuscaloosa Christian, which also plays eight-man football but is a CFA member.
“I’m still talking to them,” Jones said. “It’s not about who’s better than the other, it’s about these kids and giving them an opportunity to play. We may have a chance to schedule in case something does come open.”
Said Kevin Boswell, North River Christian’s head coach, “If they want to play, fine. If they don’t want to play, that’s fine too. That’s our hometown rivalry. We’d be more than happy to play them.”
Boswell said there will be a meeting for players and parents Thursday night to discuss the change.
As an independent, North River Christian will not be able to participate in postseason playoffs, but Boswell said there is a national tournament in Tennessee that may offer an opportunity if the team can qualify.
“I’m still trying to do some digging and finding out,”
Boswell said. “I think we’re going to do great. It’s kind of a building year. We’ve got a lot of kids who want to play.”
North River Christian has also found a new home for its team, which previously played at Sokol Park. The Chargers worked out a deal late last year to play at the former American Christian Academy field off Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in Northport, behind Wills Funeral Services.
North River Christian played one varsity game and two junior varsity games there last season and also played home softball and baseball games on the old ACA property.
“We’ve been fortunate to get that field,” Jones said. “We built a new softball field there, of course a baseball field was already there. We’re redoing the concession stand and the press box. We’re giving it a face lift to get it where it’s presentable and a nice place to play.”
<i>Reach Tommy Deas at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 205-722-0224.</i>