The Refuge hosted Lakeland Lions football camp
August 7, Lions were spotted at Olney Cub’s practice field. Not the typical lions you would see at the zoo. These Lions are the Lakeland Christian Academy’s 6-man football team.
The Refuge is hosting the Lions and Olney ISD offered the use of the practice field for a 4-day football camp to help prepare the team for the upcoming football season.
While staying at The Refuge, the players helped out with some heavy lifting and later enjoyed the facilities recreation room which included ping-pong, foosball and pool among other activities in the gym like basketball and other team building recreational sports.
The coaching staff expressed a great deal of gratitude to The Refuge, Hwy 114 diner, Hometown Coffee and Tea and the Olney ISD for helping to make their summer football camp a success.
During an interview with the Head Coach of the Lions, Coach Dustin Tarpley had this to say: “Lakeland Christian Academy has a small town feel to it”. Lakeland is based next to the High School in Lewisville, Texas. The varsity program has been running a 6-man team for about seven years and if or when enrollment allows for a bigger pull of players at that time, they would look into going to 11-man traditional football program.
Coach Tarpley says 6-man football is all about speed and versatility in the players. Unlike traditional football were each player has a specific role or job to do, in 6-man football each player will have a multitude of roles or jobs to do. Having a center that is also a great receiver is a definitive edge over the opposing team that might not have a center who is good at receiving. Coach Tarpley says some games the scores can reach over 100 points which would explain why 6-man football is such an exciting game to watch. 6-man football programs are a beginning trend more for smaller populated schools because it is easier and more efficient to run a football program with a smaller number of students eligible to play sports. Coach Tarpley closed the interview by expressing his appreciation to the coaching staff and faculty of Lakeland Christian Academy.
Coach Jesse Erhart, who is defensive coordinator and secondary principal for Lakeland Christian Academy, had community ties with Olney and believed bringing the football team to Olney would prove to have a positive impact with few distractions for this year’s football camp.
Coach Erhart has close ties to Olney dating back from the time that he lived in Olney and began The Refuge which later grew to what it is today, the heart of the community that is a faith based outreach program with many programs that help the community such as the summer feeding program, tutoring for school, after school programs, spiritual guidance, theater camp and the list just goes on. The Refuge has truly grown into a hub of Christian outreach and community support for the town of Olney and the surrounding area.
Coach Erhart, along with the inspiration and vision of Justin Piegat with grants as well as donations including a grant from the LF and Perry Foundation put a plan into motion to create a community center that was faith based and could fill many needs such as spiritual guidance, after school programs and feeding programs to name a few. Later, Rodney and Kristy Nantz would take over The Refuges helm to really help the community center take off and reach a position in the community that exceeded all expectations.
Coach Erhart says he wanted to start The Refuge for the community, which deserved a place to bring the community together. “There’s a lot of great people here and it is a chance to spread God’s word while building relationships with teens friends and family through basketball or meal services” Coach Erhart went on to say “what excites me most is how the community center is being used and the heart behind it, I piece of metal is just a piece of metal but if you use it to further the kingdom of God then it can do powerful things. Every time you leave something (you created) you want to see it flourish and it has with Rodney and Kristy Nantz.”