By Julian MITCHELL
After a year of waiting, football has finally returned to Village Christian School and things are looking up.
After a lack of participation resulted in the program’s cancellation, head coach Richard Broussard has made sure that football is on the radar of Village Christian, leading the team to a 5-2 record.
“I told them that we are going to shock the world and that’s what we’ve been doing,” said Broussard.
Coming off of their fifth consecutive win, Coach Broussard reminisced about getting to this point and the difficulties that come with starting a new team from scratch. He said he would go around the campus at lunch and hang out with kids so they would know him better and hopefully come out to the team.
“You do things for people you like,” said Broussard. “I opened up to these kids and got them to know me and they signed up to play.”
Broussard graduated from college in 2003 and was immediately offered a coaching job from his brother, former professional ball player, Steve. Broussard took a five-year hiatus from coaching to focus on his personal life and returned to coaching in 2009.
When offered the job at Village Christian, Broussard had initially turned it down, happy with his coaching job at Pasadena Community College. However, after Village Christian kept reaching out to him, Broussard realized “there must be something special” at the school.
To start the re-building process, Broussard began by assembling a staff. Through suggestions and seeing who was available, Broussard hired Anton Clarkson and former USC running back coach Todd McNair.
After the staff was assembled, recruiting began to get students to play. At the start of spring training, the team only consisted of eight kids.
Although some of the Village Christian community was buzzing with worry that there would still be no team in the fall, Broussard was certain that the Crusaders would be on the field for the season.
“The parents had PTSD,” said Broussard, referring to the school’s loss of football the year prior.
Every little “hiccup” caused worry throughout the community that something was awry. Broussard had to win over the community to convince everyone that not only would there be football in 2018, but that this team would be the start of a process towards a legacy of football.
Each week, more kids would come to the weight room for training, thanks to the campaigning efforts of Broussard and staff across campus.
Come fall, the team was 30 deep and ready to begin the inaugural season under Broussard. After the first scrimmage against La Salle, four more players signed up because of the team’s performance on the field.
Of course, with a fresh program came stumbles, including the first two games of the season in which the team lost its games, in addition to giving up a total of 61 points.
For many of the team’s players, they were new to football or had limited experience. For Broussard, having a blank slate was a challenge, but was exciting as well.
“Right now it’s a very ‘my’ culture,” said Broussard referring to the kids’ personalized slice of life they were living via social media. “I want to empower them as a team.”
Broussard focused each week on something small to improve on, whether it was defending without penalties or how to defend after a kickoff. The values that Broussard instilled in the team added up and showed up on the field; Village Christian has not received a blocking penalty in its last four games.
Since its 0-2 start, the team has won five straight and has only given up 34 points total across those five games, including a 65-point shutout against Marshall.
The team has been spearheaded with the play of freshman quarterback Sam Faulkner. Faulkner is on track for 2,000 yards thrown this season, in addition to already having recorded 16 touchdowns.
For Broussard, he has enjoyed the season so far, despite the challenges, and believes that things will continue to go well. He hopes to be able to build a legacy for the school, but also help his players build legacies at Village Christian.
Village Christian’s next game will be on Saturday, Oct. 6 at 7 p.m. against the 6-0 Heritage Christian in Granada Hills.