Being the best football wise is considered an understatement when talking about Churchland High School. But this dramatic rise to the top of football standings over the years is one to actually get into.
You can say it’s the hiring of newly acquired AD Coach Mike Whittington three years ago, but when it comes down to it all it’s the hiring of HC Dontrell Leonard three years ago that we really should be the focus. He’s been getting the job done with no questions asked despite the 1-9 record his first year at Churchland.
“The first year I kinda had to not only mold my coaches but also the kids and get them on board to what we were doing, and with it taking them the whole first year to understand what I wanted from them,” said Leonard.
With everyone quick to hop off the Churchland fan base after that season. Leonard and his guys quickly made everyone question should they start to believe?
Ending his second year with a 5-5 record plus a postseason appearance Leonard showed he has what it takes, despite the playoff loss. When asked about how last season ended
Coach Leonard says, “ Me personally just thinking what can I do to get the team back here, how can I change the focus with that crop of kids that we had.”
“That was the first time those kids have played a postseason game so they weren’t ready for the magnitude and by the time that everyone got their nerves together we were already down,“ he said.
With all that being said all eyes were back on Churchland for the first time in years coming into Coach Leonard’s third coaching season. And from what you all can see him and his guys have not disappointed.
Starting this 2019 season with a 6-1 record , dominating opponents with an above average running game and a top notch defense. With a scoring margin of 217-79 through the first seven games.
When asked about his guys that can run the football, Leonard says, “I have five different running backs and they bring something different to the table and they all know the playbook and their own unique ability that they bring to the team.”
“We’re gonna take it one game at a time,” Coach Leonard said.
Stated simple and sweet about his goal for the season.
Churchland’s students and supporters can all still bond in the blasphemy of the past of Churchland football. Playing and beating teams like Western Branch and Prince George for the first time ever this season really shows that things have changed.
But you can’t move to the future with creating a legacy to be remembered. And when asked about his legacy Leonard says,
“I want to be known as a guy that came in changed the culture, had some winning seasons, got kids to college no matter what anyone thinks along the way as long as I’m here my admin know why I’m here, my kids know, my parents know and that’s all that really matters.”
Nice words and then some.
Churchland Football is the one to watch on friday nights now. And from the looks of things it’s here to stay that way!
Photo: Melanie Graham