CFCA enters the 2014 season as a member of a new league, with a new head coach at the helm.
Richard Hodges replaces Chris Oxford, who took over the program at Covenant after a 4-6 campaign in his final season at CFCA. Hodges left retirement to take the position after spending his career at Burke County, Crisp County, Westover and Warner Robins. It will be his 34th season as a high school football coach.
He previously has been a head coach at Westover. CFCA has never had a winning season.
“To be honest, I felt like this is what the Lord wanted me to do with my life,” Hodges said. “I’ve always enjoyed the idea of a challenge, and I was aware that they haven’t had a lot of success here at this school traditionally, but I just felt like this is what I was supposed to do.”
Hodges will lead the Lancers’ transition from the GISA into the GICAA.
After coaching in the GHSA for more than three decades, it’s understandable that he might need a bit of assistance in learning the Lancers’ opponents.
“This is in no way disrespectful to any of those other schools, I’m just not familiar with them,” Hodges said. “It’s going to be a situation where it’s a learning process to find out what they do offensively and defensively.”
The smaller roster size at the private school has also forced Hodges to alter what he has done through the years. He has had to limit practice time offensively and defensively in favor of a focus on fundamentals, as he tries to keep his players as fresh as possible.
“It’s a whole lot different when you’ve got 100 kids out there to practice, and you’ve only got about 15 or 20,” Hodges said. “We’re having to adjust the way we practice, but it’s all about execution. It still comes down to blocking and tackling. We’re going to try and be sound fundamentally, play defense, have a good kicking game, and we’re going to play offense by committee.”
Building the numbers is something that will be key to CFCA’s success moving forward. Hodges has instituted an offense that will mimic some of the wide-open attacks that are so common now in college and professional football. He hopes that will create excitement among the current players and filter down to others.
“This first year we may not have the numbers that we hope to have, but I think in time once the kids here get to know me and how we do things, that we’ll get the numbers out there that we need to have a chance to compete with the other schools we’ll be playing,” Hodges said.
CFCA IN 2014
Head coach: Richard Hodges (19-40-1 in six seasons overall; first season at CFCA).
2013 record: 4-6.
2014 region: GICAA 1-AA.
Aug. 22 at Covenant Christian
Aug. 29 at Griffin Christian
Sept. 5 John Hancock
Sept. 12 Fullington
Sept. 19 at Thomas Jefferson
Sept. 26 Nathanael Greene
Oct. 3 at Creekside
Oct. 10 Calvary Christian
Oct. 24 at Community Christian
Oct. 31 Sherwood Christian
Nov. 7 at Covenant