Football team finds Hope in teammate, new coach

When the 8-man Hope Christian School Eagles football team takes the field Aug. 14 against Flint Hill Christian, they will do so with the memory of last season’s 60-58 victory fresh on their minds.

After losing back-to-back games by a combined 118-14, the Eagles trailed Flint Hill 58-24 at the half before outscoring the opponent 36-0 in the second half to take the come-from-behind win.

“That’s when it showed how good we can be,” said senior wide receiver and defensive end Luke Mahan.

Although the victory over Flint Hill was just what the Eagles needed, it was a far cry from the season-opening loss, 62-20, to cross-town rival Evangel Christian.

“It wakes you up,” Mahan said of the lopsided loss.

But that was then. This is now.

With four games left at the end of last season, assistant coach Mark Rettig began working alongside head coach John Gordon, and Rettig will transition into his first full season at the Eagles’ helm when they take the field against Flint Hill.

“I’m hoping to build on the foundation Coach Gordon laid here,” Rettig said. “I’m pumped up about it.”

Rettig, a 1986 Coosa Valley Academy graduate who played for the 1984 championship team under Bruce Breland, said the team will have a new tempo and a new attitude this season, although the Eagles’ offensive and defensive schemes will not change too much.

Rettig said with shorter field in 8-man football, the team will utilize its speed to stretch the field on opponents.

“We are going to run the ball more than we have in the past,” Retting said. “That leaves a lot of opportunity for speed.”

The way the Eagles have gone about their day-to-day business has changed completely, including watching more film on opponents and a new workout program.

“We’ve gone back to the basics on everything — technique, technique, technique,” Rettig said. “We went back to the drawing board.”

Rettig implemented the extensive workout program, in which the players must report their schedule and progress each week.

And that new attitude has grown on the players, especially the upperclassmen.

“It’s completely changed,” said senior running back Will Herring of the team’s attitude. “We actually have a team instead of a bunch of people just getting out there and playing.”

While the team has become a cohesive unit, they will take the field Aug. 14 without one of their teammates.

Glyn Glover, 17, has been battling Crohn’s disease and will miss the opener, and maybe the season.

The school and team hosted a blood drive Thursday, Aug. 6 from 2-7 p.m. in the Bruno’s parking lot off Alabama 119 in Alabaster.

Prayer bracelets in honor of Glover were sold for $2.

“He’s a winner, big time,” Rettig said of Glover. “He’s 100 percent in everything he does. He hates to lose.”

In fact, Rettig said one of the first things Glover asked his doctor was when he could get back on the football field.

“And we’ve got a whole team like him,” Rettig said.