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National Christian Academy football coach Chuck Thompson has an unique philosophy for building the program in its first year of existence.

Playing a mixed varsity and junior varsity schedule, he scheduled games against the JV teams of DeMatha Catholic High School and Friendship Collegiate Academy, two of the area’s most powerful football programs.

“We just want to bring it, a no-fear mentality,” Thompson said. “Every time we step on the field, it’s a battle. We’re going to war — four quarters of war.

“With the talent that I have, we’re going to be good year one off the break.”

National Christian Athletic Director Trevor Brown had a different approach for putting DeMatha and Friendship Collegiate on the schedule.

“I made him take them off,” Brown said.

“I don’t want to show up DeMatha and have 17 to 20 kids, and they have 60, and at the end of the game, we have 12 that’s able to play the next game because we’re playing five or six kids both ways the whole the game.”

Brown said he doesn’t mind taking a long-term approach while reigning in Thompson for now. The athletic director said he loves having a coach with so much passion.

For at least the 13 years he’s been at the school, including four as an athletic director, Brown said National Christian has been discussing adding a football program. He’d spoken with potential coaches and asked for a written proposal of how to get a program off the ground.

Typically, that’s where the process ended.

Thompson returned the next day with a plan, including contact information for several players he’d coached in youth leagues. That last part was especially important for a school trying to launch a football team despite a high school enrollment which Brown estimated to be about 100 students.

Thompson said his team had 22 players, just three of whom were at National Christian last year. He attended Eleanor Roosevelt High School and Barber–Scotia College (N.C.), where he played basketball. He also played professional indoor football and served as St. Vincent Pallotti High School’s recruiting coordinator and JV coach.

Brown hopes the team will draw even more students, citing not only future players, but their siblings and the exposure football brings.

“Every private school is always trying to increase enrollment,” Brown said. “Private schools are in business. That’s what keeps them in business is their enrollment, so I think every small private school would try to find some kind of way to increase their enrollment.”

National Christian has a nine-game schedule comprised of five varsity opponents and four junior-varsity opponents, including a Sept. 7 contest against Northwestern High School. National Christian is a Maryland Public Secondary Schools approved non-member school.

“Eventually, down the road, I’m not trying to compete with the DeMathas and the Gonzagas, the Good Counsels,” Brown said. “Those are well-established football programs that will be going on forever. But I would like to play maybe a level below that, the same level Riverdale is playing at, where we can play public schools and compete with them and maybe beat them eventually and private schools of our size.”

National Christian has become renowned for its boys basketball team, which Brown coaches.

“The model that they have for basketball, I’m going to use that same philosophy for football,” Thompson said. “Get the kids a great education and get them to college, that’s all I’m concerned with. I could care less about the wins and losses. My thing is get these kids into college and get them looks and get them prepared in life.

“We’re going to make some noise. That’s our goal, put National Christian Academy on the map as a football powerhouse also.”

dfeldman@gazette.net