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Trinity Classical Academy, a local private school, joins the football fray when it debuts Saturday

Posted: September 9, 2009 10:42 p.m.
Updated: September 10, 2009 4:55 a.m.

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Matt Dixon took over as Trinity Classical Academy athletic director just before the summer began last year.

In his first week at the private Christian school in Saugus, Dixon says he was bombarded by e-mails from Ben Froemming.

Froemming, whose wife is the admissions director at the school and has two daughters that attend Trinity, implored Dixon to look into starting a CIF-certified football team at the school.

“We need to do this and step forward with this,” Dixon said, recalling the e-mail.

“(Froemming) had playbooks and friends to help and equipment lists. This is how much it would cost. (I thought) ‘Wow, he’s serious.’”
Nearly a year later, the Trinity Knights will play their first CIF-certified game when they debut as a junior varsity 8-Man team against Calvary Baptist on Saturday at 11 a.m. at First Lutheran High in Sylmar.

Froemming is now the team’s co-head coach.

A man with big hopes, he believes the program can compete for a CIF championship in a couple of years.

Froemming says the main reason for wanting Trinity to have a football program was so that he could mentor young men.

He doesn’t have any boys of his own who will be playing for the team — his daughters are in third and sixth grade.

Yet Froemming says he coached youth football in Colorado, has a vested interest in Trinity and a passion for the game.

The idea of starting a football team, Froemming says, came from reading an article in a newspaper about how Avalon of Santa Catalina Island started an 8-Man program.

The process to start a team at Trinity began about two and a half years ago, but it really kicked into high gear last year.

Trinity had to apply for certification through the CIF-Southern Section.

The school had to field at least six sports programs, one boys and one girls program in each season.

In addition to football, Trinity also has girls volleyball in the fall, boys basketball and girls soccer in the winter and baseball and softball in the spring — all of which will compete at the junior-varsity level.

Trinity also had to submit information such as its enrollment, growth potential and background on its coaches.

The school began in 2001 with 28 students for its kindergarten, first and second grades. It has grown every year since.

This year it will offer kindergarten through 10th grade, with hopes in 2010 of adding an 11th-grade class.

While the school now has  275 students, there are only 16 boys in its ninth- and 10th-grade classes, which made starting a football team no easy task.

Of the 16 boys eligible to play, 13 are on the football team that practices on a dirt lot on Trinity’s campus.

“No grass, but we can see it growing,” Froemming says. “But it’s too young to step on.”

Sometimes the coaches have to step in as players during practice.

“It’s a challenge,” Froemming says. “Everyone’s learning two or three positions.”

The Knights won’t even consider kicking field goals or extra points, as there are  no goal posts anywhere to practice on.

Most of the boys haven’t played organized football before. Some have a little experience, like 15-year-old 10th-grader James Brooks.

Brooks played Pop Warner in the seventh grade.

It was around that time when Brooks, who has been attending the school since it opened in 2001, approached his father about attending a public school so he could play sports.

“I’m extremely glad I stayed here, because I get great academics and play sports, especially multiple sports,” says Brooks, a wide receiver/defensive back who also plans on playing basketball and baseball.

Trinity will play a nine-game schedule this season and hopes to move up to the varsity level.

Dixon says he would also like the team to play in the Heritage League with fellow Christian private school Santa Clarita Christian, which won its first-ever CIF-Southern Section Division I 8-Man title in 2008.

The Knights will play at the Division II level, which is for schools that have a high school enrollment under 118.

A long-term goal, Dixon says, is to field an 11-man football team.

As for immediate goals, Froemming says: “The goal is to turn out young men of virtue, of wisdom and courage. If we can get them to that, we will eventually win football games.”

It’s not lost upon the current players what they’re doing at Trinity.

Josh Waschak, a 10th-grader who plays running back and linebacker for the Knights, understands this is the beginning.

The team will have its growing pains.

In two years, when he’s a senior, he hopes the team will have established something.

“I hope I see younger kids coming up, excited to be in the program,” the 15-year-old says. “I’d like to see us set the example, pave the way.”

 

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