When Logos School first decided it wanted to start a football program, it didn’t have a field to play on or many kids with football experience.
But slowly, the funds and support started coming in and soon the small, private Christian K-12 school in Moscow realized fielding a new football team would be a reality after all.
The Knights’ junior high team wrapped up its first season with a 31-29 win Thursday against Potlatch to finish 4-3. Logos hopes to build its junior high team into a high school varsity program in the coming years.
“I think what’s been really impressive is that the boys encouraged each other to play and then encouraged each other to stick with it,” said Kelly Driskill, events coordinator at Logos. “You do those first three weeks or so with no games and you have no idea (if you’re ready).”
It turned out the team was ready to play.
The Knights earned a winning record in their first season, which included three home games at their new field east of Mountain View Park — where Logos is constructing its new school.
Construction of Phase 1 of the school started two years ago, with the $110,00 field becoming playable for football in August, just in time for the season.
Known as a “running and basketball school,” football had been missing since the school started in the basement of a church in 1981, Driskill said.
When parents and kids showed support for starting a football team, the Knights decided to give it a try with the current seventh- and eighth-grade classes. At first only 10 kids showed interest, but soon the number grew to 17 — enough for an 8-man junior high team in the 1A Whitepine League.
And the league was more than welcoming. Staff members from Deary and Troy were among those to visit and offer encouragement to the team.
Starting a new program — even an 8-man junior high team — comes with its share of challenges on and off the field.
“We had a pump break and when the goalposts were put in, they were put in right on top of the main irrigation line, so we broke them,” Logos coach Nick Holloway said. “(Superintendent) Dr. (Larry) Stephenson and his son Ty actually went diving in the pond out here to put in a pump. They had to get into the pond with this 400-, 500-pound pump and put it in a certain location.”
With the field eventually ready for play, the next challenge for Holloway and his staff was preparing a team of mostly neophytes for the physical game of football.
“A lot of these guys had never played before, so when they first put on the gear and they had to go tackle somebody, how do you do that?” Holloway said. “You have to play a number of games … to really get a feel for that.”
Holloway had some help. On his staff is former University of Idaho and NFL player Brian Howard. And the Knights had a few players, like quarterback Jack Driskill, who benefited from playing in the Moscow Thrashers youth league.
“(Jack’s) been a great leader because he’s one of the kids who has played before, so he’s really helping bring a lot of the younger guys along,” Holloway said. “Guys who have never played before, someone like a Simeon Rauch or George Evans ... they’re starting now because they’re really coming along, really working hard to learn things.”
Junior high football often doesn’t get the large crowds high school games get, but the community turned out in full force for Logos’ three home games this season.
Among those in the crowd were some players’ former baseball and basketball coaches.
“I saw coaches from other sports even. They came out and I was surprised,” said Rauch, a seventh-grade lineman.
There was even an appearance by an unusual guest.
“People have been really supportive,” Kelly Driskill said. “The guy who dropped off the porta potties was here one day and he was like, ‘You guys are playing your first game? I’m coming back.’”
Logos’ biggest game was its final home game — a 26-20 win Oct. 10 against St. John-Endicott/Lacrosse.
With time winding down, SJEL pushed deep into Logos territory before the Knights stuffed Eagles at the line to preserve the victory.
“They got really good field position and our defense just stuffed them,” Jack Driskill said. “Our defensive line did great that last play — everybody was there.”
Added Rauch, “We just swarmed them at the very end and just hit them up.”
Kelly Driskill said the goal is for Logos to field a varsity team in the next three to four years.
Next season, the Knights will have two teams: the junior high team and a junior varsity team at the high school level.
“There are some runners, some basketball kids who were interested in playing JV next year,” Driskill said. “The hope is just to grow them each year and end up with a varsity team.”
The goal is for the current eighth graders to eventually play on varsity, Driskill said. Next year’s JV team also would include several kids who currently are freshmen and sophomores.
The current players are already looking forward to the future.
“High school will be great,” Jack Driskill said. “I think next year we’re going to have a JV team and that should be really fun.
“Just looking forward for the years to come.”
Stephan Wiebe can be reached on Twitter at @StephanSports and at firstname.lastname@example.org.