By Anthony Rhoads

In the last few years, Eagle's Landing Christian Academy has been preparing to move to the Georgia High School Association.

Starting in the 2004-05 school year, the private school in McDonough will be in the GHSA.

After it's application was approved by the GHSA, the academy's school board recently unanimously approved to make the move.

Eagle's Landing Christian Academy is currently in the Georgia Independent School Association.

"We felt like this was the Lord's will for us," ELCA administrator Marshall Chambers said. "We've still got a lot of room to grow but we're really looking forward to it."

Eagle's Landing Christian will compete in Region 5-A, which includes Atlanta International, Ben Franklin, Cathedral Academy, DeKalb Arts, Galloway, Greenforest, Landmark Christian, Our Lady of Mercy, Southwest Atlanta Christian, St. Francis, W.D. Mohammed, Whitefield Academy and Yeshiva.

"I've excited we're making the move," Eagle's Landing Christian athletic director Scott Queen said. "It's going to be a big challenge but we'll be competitive. We're very please with the region we're going to be in. You couldn't ask for a better region location-wise."

Queen feels like the Chargers can compete right way in several sports like cross country, wrestling and baseball. One of his goals is to be able to schedule other Henry County schools in all sports eventually.

"We're not ready right now to play the other Henry County schools in some sports but down the road, yes, I would love for Eagle's Landing Christian to play the other county schools," Queen said.

Football will probably be one of the most difficult sports to be competitive in because of sheer numbers.

The Chargers have been fairly competitive in the GISA the last two years with records of 7-5 and 6-6.

"We're very excited," ELCA head football coach Tim Luke said. "We feel like the GHSA is a step up in credibility and quality of athletics. Georgia is one of the most highly-recruited football states in the country and to be a part of that is extremely exciting and gratifying."

Luke knows that ELCA has a tough battle ahead in the GHSA but he feels his team can be competitive.

"We know we are still at the very preliminary stage in our program but we feel like we can succeed," he said. "It is my dream to get to get to the point where we are going to play the other Henry County teams but we're not there yet. Our football and basketball teams have their work cut out for them."

Eagle's Landing Christian head basketball coach Jody Bailey knows it will be an uphill battle in Region 5-A, a league that includes Whitefield Academy, which won the Class A state championship last year.

"I can't wait to have an opportunity to go against those teams," Bailey said. "Nothing against the GISA but the GHSA is the best basketball around. I would love to play Stockbridge, Eagle's Landing, Union Grove, Henry County and Luella. I would love to play the local schools in Henry County."

Last year, the Chargers advanced to the Sweet 16 of the GISA Class AAA state tournament in Bailey's first year as head coach.

"It will be a fun experience to play in the GHSA," Bailey said. "We're slowly building our program. I'm not sure how competitive we will be; we'll compete but how many games we will win, we're not certain."

One team sport the Chargers might have the best chance to compete at the region and state level will be baseball. The Chargers have held their own against public school teams in summer leagues and two years ago, they went to the final four in the GISA state tournament.

"I love it," ELCA head baseball coach Joe Shadowens said. "I wanted to do it years ago. We were all for it a long time ago. I think it's a fantastic move and I think we will be able to play."