After a trial run last fall, Seabury Academy is jumping into football for real. The Seahawks will debut in eight-man football with six games, all on the road.
"You have to start slowly," Seabury athletic director Eric Nelson said. "You've got to crawl before you walk."
Nelson has a three-year plan for developing a football program at the private school that competes in Class 1A in other KSHSAA sports.
"Last year we played a couple of scrimmages," Nelson said, "and now we've got six games, and hopefully next year we'll play an even stronger varsity schedule."
Scott Peavey, a former assistant coach at Mission Valley High, will coach the Seahawks in their first full season.
"It's such a great opportunity to start a program like this," Peavey said. "I really just want to leave my fingerprints on the program, and be able to mold it in a way that they'll have success down the line."
Peavey admits an inaugural season will be difficult, however.
"There's a lot of stuff you take for granted," he said. "Just the little stuff like equipment and a field. Being a new coach is always tough and most of the kids have very little experience. But I'm looking forward to the challenge."
For many of Seabury's players, last year's trial run was their first exposure to organized football.
"I'm really just going to stress fundamentals," Peavey said. "So many kids don't have football experience so I just want to make sure we do everything right - blocking, running, and passing. I just want to build this program with a foundation for success."
Additionally, most of the roster will be made up of freshmen and sophomores.
"We're going to have a lot of growing pains as a program," Peavey said. "But we've got a chance to grow together."
Sophomores Reed Grabill and Skyler Malone, both participants last year, loom as key performers.
"Reed's got a good arm so we'll probably play him as quarterback," Peavey said. "Skyler Malone will play on the offensive line and as a linebacker. He's got good size and he's a good athlete. He's willing to hit people, which is always good for a coach."
AD Nelson is prepared for the struggles of the Seahawks' first season, but also excited to introduce football at Seabury.
"I don't have any expectations in terms of winning or losing," he said. "I just want the kids to have an enjoyable season. I want them to compete, have fun, and not get hurt."
The Seahawks will play their inaugural game tonight at Kansas School for the Deaf and will close their short season Oct. 9 at KSD.
Seabury also will play at K.C. East Christian and Flint Hills Christian. The other two games will be against the Colony Crest and Burlington junior varsity squads.