When Luke Sellers first took over the job as Athletic Director for Fredericksburg Christian High School, he knew that work of preparing and conducting sporting events wouldn’t ever come easily.
Every time the high school football season arrives, his job remains to ensure that various things become taken care of both on and off of the field while Eagles head coach Billy Thomas and his staff manage their players. Still, Sellers confidently knows he has a helpful hand by his side each year around this time, who also happens to be a familiar face in the family.
Seller’s father Ralph is entering his fifth year as a behind-the-scenes contributor for the private school’s football program. His main duties include field maintenance, equipment setup and handling the concession stands. Fans indeed may only truly see what’s happening in the actual games but the entire coaching staff knows what kind of importance Ralph holds in his dedicated approach.
“He does the things that people don’t really recognize goes into coaching,” Thomas explained. “He’s always helpful and one of those guys that never says no, even when he probably could, considering he also works full-time. He’s just a humble man and Godly figure for the boys to look up.”
Heading into this year, Ralph, along with everyone else involved with Fredericksburg Christian football, acknowledges that some key pieces will be missed but several veterans still return. There’s high optimism and for a good cause, as the Eagles won their second VISAA Division II state championship in program history last November. Led by a big group of seniors who went through a 0–8 season four years ago, last year’s team defeated North Cross School 35–21 for the chip, finishing with an 11–1 record.
“I thought last season was a great end of a journey for those players that started off as freshmen,” Ralph Sellers said. “They adjusted and bought into the program to end with a great accomplishment. I haven’t seen much of this year’s team yet but I’m sure they’ve worked really hard in camp to get prepared.”
Dylan Johnson inherits the starting quarterback job from his older brother Antwan and takes over the offense as a sophomore. Senior Cross Conway has moved from wide receiver to running back and fellow classmate Korey Hazel, as well as freshmen Noah Martin, are two other rushing options in the backfield. Upperclassmen Robert Almy and Jesse King both can work as targets for the Eagles’ passing attack. Much of the offensive line has added on strength during the offseason. Aaron Hilliard, who made an impact last season as a sophomore, comes back as the sole returning starter.
A junior trio of Hilliard, Christian Lynch, and Nicholas Meade, who all start on the OL, will take over as defensive lineman. All of last year’s starting linebackers have graduated and the team plans to go with a five-man lineup within that unit. Conway slides into that area after handling the free spot in his junior campaign. Martin replaces Conway, while Almy and Tyson Jones can compete at the cornerback positions.
Outside of his defense, Jones has the best tools to function as the primary kicker. Eighth-grader Drake Morris arrives as a new face and gives the team an asset as a punter.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Whenever 16 seniors, including 13 who started, graduate from a state championship team, bouncing back will never be easily achieved. Nevertheless, Thomas has a strong group returning and a dedicated offseason of hard work displayed by the players provides optimism that they can once again cause harm in the VISAA Division II classification. With everyone maintaining a focus likewise to last season, the Eagles hope to soar high once again.