2018 RECORD: 6-3 GICAA 8-man football
HEAD COACH: Mark Ackerman
8.16 vs The Oaks School
8.23 vs Peachtree Academy
8.30 at Dominion Christian School
9.6 vs New Creation Christian Academy
9.13 at Praise Academy
9.20 vs Johnson Ferry Christian Academy
9.27 at Nathanael Greene Academy
10.11 at Harvester Christian Academy
10.19 at Horizon Christian Academy
10.25 vs Kings Way Christian School
Coming into 2018, Unity Christian had holes to fill at wide receiver (Janson Slaughter) and running back (Collin Mathis) with players graduating and going on to play at Berry College. An injury kept the starting quarterback out for the season and the young Lions, with only a few seniors stepping up, played hard and made the GICAA 8-man football playoffs.
“The goal is simple for this year We want to advance past the first round of the playoffs,” says Head Coach Mark Ackerman.
In each of the last two years, Unity has been eliminated in round one of the playoffs.
“The players and coaches are not going to be satisfied with ‘just making it into the playoffs this year. We need to elevate our play in the postseason and keep advancing,” says Ackerman.
This season’s offensive line will anchor Unity Christian’s offense. Led by senior Aaron Alford, and juniors Eli Whiteside and Jayden Stewart, Ackerman affirms that, “there is no doubt they will be the strength of our offense. These young men know the system, communicate well and work hard.”
Drew King will return from injury to play at quarterback. “Drew is an incredible athlete and leader and jumped right back into a great rhythm during spring drills,” says Ackerman.
After filling in at QB due to King’s injury last season, John Nance will change positions and play wide receiver this season. “John was so productive last year at QB that we plan on having a few wildcat packages for him. John’s athleticism will really help us at the wide receiver spot. We need someone to fill the gap that is going to be left by graduates.”
The Lions’ defense this season will be led by standout players Eli Thompson and Bailey Mohler. The two players were first or second on the team in nearly every defensive statistical category in the 2018 season. “Both players are still young, but they have incredible field sense and a nose for the football,” Ackerman says.
Jaydon Slaughter, a junior, will take on a larger role on defense this season. He is a combo player and will be used at both defensive end and linebacker. His work ethic and consistency at summer workouts shows that he will be ready to break out this fall.
The return game is relying on sophomore Samuel Mumpower. While being a team leader in kick-off and punt return yardage last season, he will also compete for one of the wide receiver positions. “He is very elusive with the ball in his hands and he always makes the first defender miss,” Ackerman explains. Senior running-back Kolby Watts will also help in the return game.
Other young players to look for in the future are Ethan Kinard, who is both a smart and physical player. He was the OL and DL leader on the State Runner Up middle school football team this past year and will be asked to lead in the same way for his high school squad.
Ackerman also says to be on the lookout for Avery Alford. “Avery is the kind of young man every coach enjoys coaching. He works hard and does exactly what we ask him to do to the best of his ability. He is going to be an incredible player for us in the future.”