Article and Photography by ALICE MARY HERDEN
On Thursday night Sept. 5, Hernando Christian Academy held their first 6-man football game against Newberry Christian Community, and it was a glorious win for the Lions; 43-12.
There was an uncertainty of how the team would perform due to practice cancellations, but Coach Raley was pleasantly surprised by the team’s ability to pull it off.
“We came out yesterday (Wednesday), and it was the only day of practice for the entire week, HCA head football coach David Raley said. “Everything was crisp, and we were moving the ball well.”
Florida Christian Association of Private and Parochial Schools (FCAPPS) Commissioner Chuck Howard attended the game to show his support for the teams within the league.
“It means a lot to me (to be here),” said Commissioner Howard. He explained that the league’s organizers try to be familiar with all the players, coaches, and refs in the league.
He said that for the schools who are involved in the league, their number one priority is safety.
“We put a cap on the number of hours you can actually have all-out contact, and our league is the only league in the state doing this right now. Our kids are going to be less exposed to those full contacts, and I think that is a big plus,” Commissioner Howard said.
6-man football is a fast paced,competitive game, with aggressive field action, and in that case, tackling techniques are changing.
“There are so many different tackling techniques taught nowadays with different equipment. A lot of major universities have gone to different tackling styles. The Seattle Seahawks started it out with what they call hawk tackling,” Commissioner Howard said.
What is hawk tackling? According to the Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll and former defensive passing game coordinator Rocky Seto it is all about the shoulders. They have promoted their tackling techniques since 2014 by emphasizing on shoulder tackling and keeping the helmet out of the tackle.
The game against Newberry Christian Community was a good start for Hernando Christian Academy and a great show of sportsmanship was on display.
“These are good kids, most of them have been in our system for years and know how to conduct themselves,” Coach Raley said.
HCA’s upcoming game on Friday is against one of the top contenders in the league, Cornerstone Academy. The Lions focus will be their team’s strength and field performance.
“It’s a non-conference game, and it will test who we are,” Coach Raley said. “We are not the biggest or the fastest; we have to win by being accurate.”