High school football put on pause at King’s Way Christian


School wants to invest in youth program first, then return to varsity football in a few years

King’s Way Christian has put its high school football program on hiatus.

“We are taking a two-year pause for high school football so we can reinvest the budget dollars into our youth, so we can start developing an actual program instead of just a varsity team,” said Brad Butterworth, the school’s athletic director.

The decision was made last week. Athletes wishing to play are likely to be allowed to play for the public schools in the boundary in which they live.

King’s Way Christian is hitting the pause button on its high school football program. The school will look to develop a youth program with the goal of returning to varsity football in the fourth year of this restart. Photo by Mike Schultz
King’s Way Christian is hitting the pause button on its high school football program. The school will look to develop a youth program with the goal of returning to varsity football in the fourth year of this restart. Photo by Mike Schultz

Butterworth said it has been like coaches and school officials have been “chasing their own tails” in the past 10 years, with five different head coaches. In a few of those years, the small private school that opts up to play in Class 1A has had no problem finding enough players to field a quality varsity team. But in most of those years, it has been a struggle. And there has never been an organized push to develop younger Knights, Butterworth said.

A couple of years ago, there were 10 eighth-graders who played organized football. Only two came out for football when they were freshmen, Butterworth said.

“It’s never been set up for the football coach to be successful,” Butterworth said. “That’s not the fault of the coach.”

Brian Rodriguez, the head coach the past two seasons, is no longer with King’s Way Christian, Butterworth confirmed. Rodriguez respectfully declined comment for this story.

Butterworth said he will be hiring a football coordinator to oversee the building of the program. The goal is two years of no high school football, then a sub-varsity team in Year 3 of this plan, and a return to varsity football in Year 4.

King’s Way Christian built its grandstand last summer in time for the 2019 football season. The school decided last week to put its high school football program on hiatus. Photo by Mike Schultz
King’s Way Christian built its grandstand last summer in time for the 2019 football season. The school decided last week to put its high school football program on hiatus. Photo by Mike Schultz

King’s Way Christian officials traveled to Tennessee for a conference with other small, private schools. One of the issues discussed was developing a football program. After hearing from successful programs, King’s Way officials were convinced that a program must start at the younger levels first.

Butterworth said the Knights want to build a program for the next 60 years, not the next 60 days.

With the uncertainty of any football this fall due to the pandemic, and with many of the team’s top athletes transferring or considering a transfer, Butterworth said it was clear this fall was going to be a challenge anyway.

“When you look at the numbers of what we lost with transfers, with Covid, all that did was shine a light on the issue,” Butterworth said. “We need to focus on what we can control. We can control building an experience for young kids so they can enjoy playing football one day at King’s Way, and that’s what we’re going to do.”

King’s Way Christian opened its football field behind the campus buildings in 2012. Last year, the school had a grand opening for its grandstands, with students from kindergarten through high school in attendance, packing the place.

A year later, the stadium will be empty on Friday nights.

Temporarily, Butterworth said.

“The long-term goal is to set the path for the next 60 years,” Butterworth said.

And when football returns, he said he hopes that when young football players will be in those grandstands watching varsity, they will see 40 to 45 players in uniform, not 20.

It starts with the youth program, Butterworth said.

And the restart starts now.

About The Author

Paul Valencia joins ClarkCountyToday.com after more than two decades of newspaper experience. He became the face of high school sports coverage in Clark County during his 17 years at The Columbian. Before moving to Vancouver, Paul worked at Oregon daily newspapers in Pendleton, Roseburg, and Salem. A graduate of David Douglas High School in Portland, Paul enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving three years as a soldier/journalist. He and his wife Jenny recently celebrated their 20th anniversary. They have a son who has a passion for karate and Minecraft. Paul’s hobbies include: Watching the Raiders play football, reading about the Raiders playing football, and waiting to watch and read about the Raiders playing football.

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