OSHKOSH (NBC 26) — After seven years without its own team, Valley Christian in Oshkosh is getting set to field an 8-man football squad and the players say they're excited to play their favorite game for the school they love.
Senior Linebacker and Wide Receiver Josiah Lehman says he's "ready to bring back a family culture to Valley" and says he's excited to bring back football, which he calls "one of the greatest sports known to man."
Head Football Coach Dan Birr says Valley Christian has had its own football teams in the past, but dwindling numbers forced the school to form a co-op team with St. Mary Catholic High School in Neenah in 2016.
He says that arrangement made it difficult for Valley Christian students to play.
“We had six, seven, eight guys participate in the co-op," he explained, "but what we kept hearing from guys was 'if we had our own team, we would be 100% behind it."
The players have backed that sentiment up this season, as coach Birr says 30 signed up to play on the newly-formed team. Birr believes the team will provide valuable life lessons in "teamwork and overcoming adversity" to the players, as well as a boost in school spirit, to the rest of the school.
"Having your own team just adds everything to the high school experience," he said.
Lehman and fellow senior Eli Humiston are excited to get to play for their school for the first time. Lehman says he hopes the team will be a new source of school pride.
"It'd be nice if we can actually have our own homecoming games," he said, "have a spirit week planned around a football game here at Valley, so that'll be fun. I think it'll bring fun events and spirit back into school."
Humiston says he hopes this year's team will start a strong tradition of Valley Christian football, that will last for years to come.
“For me, it's cool starting the program," said Humiston, "We only have one year, but we can make that one year really special and we can start something that we can come back in five years and see what we started. I think that’s a really good opportunity.”
Valley Christian will open its season on August 24 at Sevastopol High School.