Chargers look back on ?dream season'

By Anthony Rhoads

The Eagle's Landing Christian Academy Chargers accomplished a lot on the football field in 2004.

The Chargers finished the 2004 season with an 8-3 record, finished second in Region 5-A and made the playoffs in their first year in the GHSA.

"Looking back, it was just amazing we competed in our first year of playing in the Georgia High School Association," ELCA head coach Tim Luke said. "Nobody expected us to compete for a region championship against a state power. It was really a dream season."

Things clicked for ELCA from the start as the team was 8-1 going into the final game of the season against Landmark Christian.

The Chargers came up short against Landmark for the region championship and entered the playoffs as a No. 2 seed.

"This was the best group of seniors we've ever had and the best team as a whole we've ever had on offense, defense and special teams," Luke said. "It's exciting to realize we made as big a splash as we did this year."

Eagle's Landing Christian was able to play at home in the Class A state playoffs against Hancock Central.

The Chargers trailed 8-0 going into the third quarter but mounted a comeback to take a 12-8 lead.

Even though the Chargers fell 20-12, Luke said they showed tremendous effort in the contest.

"I think it was a reflection of the character those kids showed all year long," Luke said. "This is the first group of kids we haven't had to coach effort. They gave it everything on Friday night and it showed."

Now that the team has completed its first season in the GHSA, Luke is optimistic about the program's future.

"I think the future is nothing but very, very bright for ELCA football," Luke said. "The vision is there to build quality sports programs here at ELCA in every field. We want to make ELCA a place where parents will want to send their kids. A big part of that is giving the kids a chance to complete in athletics."

One big factor in the Chargers' success this year was the leadership of the seniors.

Seniors this year include Tim Waters, Cole Springer, Kerk Murray, Alec Huber, Jonathan Boynton, Chance Palmer, Jeremy Butler and Chris McMillan.

"They were a tremendous group of kids," Luke said. "Their resiliency, their determination and their work ethic were examples to everybody as a team. We were only going to be as good as our seniors were going to be."

"What they did for us is going to last a long time," Luke said. "This senior class went a long way in putting ELCA football on the map."

Three ELCA seniors are being recruited to play at the collegiate level.

Huber, a tight end/linebacker, is being recruited by many major Division I programs including Northwestern, Ohio University, Georgia Tech, Duke, Auburn and Tulane.

Springer, a quarterback, is being recruited by Princeton, Columbia, Harvard and Davidson.

Tim Waters, an all-around athlete, is being recruited by Columbia, Holy Cross, Harvard and Union College.

"It is something as a coach you absolutely wish for is to have kids of that caliber on your team," Luke said. "They're not just talented in football, they're very bright kids. When you have three guys who at any time can put six points on the board, it makes you look like a good football coach."