Saxony Lutheran to add football program in fall 2024


If it was said once, it was said 1,000 times. It was a great day to be a Crusader.
Saxony Lutheran announced that it would add a football program in the 2024 fall season during a news conference on Jan. 24.
The Crusaders will play an all-road junior varsity schedule this upcoming fall, and will field a varsity squad beginning in 2025.
“The decision to add football was not taken lightly,” Saxony Lutheran Principal Mark Ruark said. “Since the inception of the school, the community has asked ‘Are you ever going to have football?’ It was in our strategic plan in the 2016-2017 school year, but it was not our top priority. However, it was in our 10-year plan. We feel like we are offering a program that our surrounding community will support, and students will want to be a part of. We have had success in everything we have done, and we believe our football program will follow in those footsteps.”
During the press conference, Ruark noted that there was research into funding that would be needed to field a football program, and that it has the initial $100,000 needed for equipment and another $300,000 commitment that will be used for field improvements for the soccer and football playing field.
One of the biggest proponents for Saxony Lutheran football on the Strategic Processes Committee was Dr. Ross Bennett.
“We had a steering committee that did a full review of Saxony,” Bennett said. “We had alumni, we had current teachers, we had parents and we had community leaders all come together and do a full evaluation of Saxony. Out of that committee came the recommendation that the time was right for us to add football.”
Bennett said the overwhelming response in the committee was for opportunities for student success.
“Football is an amazing opportunity to learn lessons in life,” he said. “In this area, we always had to choose between sending kids to a football school or a Christian school if there were kids that wanted to play football. Now we don’t have to make that choice.”

With the addition of football, Saxony will soon offer 20 programs, and many schools Saxony’s size offer between 12-15 programs. Saxony Athletic Director Sam Sides said that player participation and conflicts between other fall sports such as cross country and boys soccer were considered.
“We have conflicts now,” Sides said. “Our policy has been and to my knowledge it will stay the same that they can play multiple sports if they want to. There are requirements and it is physically challenging. As long as they meet the academic and physical requirements for each sport, I believe everything will have some kids do both, or more.”
Sides has already began the process of filling out a junior varsity schedule.
“Once (Ruark) told me it was going to happen I started sending emails,” Sides said. “I’ve already got six schools that have contacted me and now it’s just a matter of working out the details.”
Ruark also noted that while no coaches have been hired, the school has a pretty good idea of who the coaching staff will be.
Bennett said the choice for head coach is one that is exciting to him and the people involved.
“Having a person who we believe will be the first coach of Saxony football with his Christian background paired with his football knowledge,” Bennett explained. “It made it a unique time to move forward with the program.”
In terms of a timeline for when the coaching staff will be announced Sides said, “when it happens, it happens.”
Sides said the school does surveys each year to gauge interest in different programs and that the program will “take as many kids as we can get,” to kick off the program in the fall.
“There is a minimum number that is needed, but what that is I’m not sure,” Sides said. “There are schools that have played with small numbers. If we had 40 kids come out that would blow away any expectations I would have.”