In 2018 the Landmark Eagles were an underdog story in the NHFA National Tournament in Atlanta, Georgia. Their first challenge would be the Noah Jaguars. Noah is to this day, as they were then, consistently ranked as one of the top homeschool teams in the nation. This was Landmark’s first year in the tournament and it was expected that the team would get rolled by an opponent bigger and more experienced than them. The Eagles set out to shatter that expectation.
What followed was a defensive battle between the two teams. Stop after stop on both sides kept the game close and low scoring. In the end, a screen pass from Quarterback Austin Goodpaster to Harley Elsbury would put Landmark on top, and with a continued outstanding defensive performance, the Eagles would prevail, winning 13-7.
This would then lead the Eagles to the National Championship game. Despite a great effort the Landmark Eagles would come up short against Christ Prep and the underdog story would come to an end, or so everyone thought.
The National Championship game had been lost, as well as 15 seniors. Once again, nothing was expected of Landmark coming into the 2019 season because of the loss of so many veterans and a tough schedule. Yet again, the team would surprise.
The 2019 season led the team all the way back to the NHFA National Tournament. This time to play a bowl game against Tomball from Texas. However, unlike most games, It wasn’t what happened on the field that made this so special rather, what happened after just off the field.
The tears pouring down each player’s face, the hugs and final chant proved the brotherhood the Landmark Eagles developed over the course of the year. Through the rain and the mud, through the blood, sweat and tears, they formed a bond that is unbreakable. They are family forever. Whether they had been in the program for 1 year or 8, they had each others’ backs, no matter what. Big and small, homeschool or public schooled they came together to do more than just play a game… but to live life. Fighting together in the trenches and cheering for one another in the high places. Once Landmark, always Landmark. The players who ran the race this season will never forget it. Not because they played football in high school, instead they will remember it for the friends who were with them to the end.
In the Landmark program, you have the guy next to you and he has you, whatever football brings, whatever life brings.
This is what being a Landmark Eagle means. This is what Landmark has meant to me. Life may bring me to one area or the next but I know who is behind me and ready to go. It is the same thing on the football field. If the other team would ever try to take me out, I know who would be at my defense all the way, each and every teammate. Even through mistakes teammates help each other to get better. The group is more tightly knit than any team I have ever been on.
Despite the adversity of losing the head coach seven days before their first game, with many new freshmen and sophomores, even though the team had ups and downs, they pulled together.
It doesn’t end with the players either. The coaches worked together and formed friendships with one another and the players. On top of that, supporting families and parents were always committed to helping whoever needed it, whenever they needed it within Landmark.
For every fan, parent, coach, player, brother or sister, Landmark is one unit that will be cherished in each and every one of their hearts.
The Eagles program is one of passion and a winning spirit. This has led them to back to back years in the (NHFA) National Tournament in Atlanta, Georgia and Panama City, Florida. Their final game this year came against Tomball in a bowl game. The Eagles gave their full effort with Ethan Lamereaux kicking an 80-yard punt, John Hatfield scoring a deep TD pass and a couple onside kick recoveries from Micah Hennecke and David Wells. Isaac Hoke never gave up as he continued to sling amazing passes throughout the game. The team’s effort and bond are unmatchable. After the game, when the tears began to roll, the Eagles knew it would be their last time together with the seniors and the seniors with the rest of the team. With that in mind, the team came together one last time, promising each other that they would always be their friends and would always fight for each other.
The seniors: Edwin Shaffstall, Ethan Lamereaux, Nathan Miller, Micah Hennecke, and John Hatfield have bright futures ahead of them, yet are leaving behind something special at Landmark. While at the same time, it will stay with them day and night.
Landmark will now prepare themselves for next season. With new players always coming in and older more experienced players leading the charge, the team is sure to be good again come 2020. This all begins with hard work from December to July. Eric Nephew is a prime example of getting stronger and putting in hard work in the off-season. With more and more Landmark athletes following in his footsteps the squad is on its way to further success.
Then it goes to more hard work during mini-camps, practices and preseason games. On a yearly basis these things have propelled the Eagles to develop players before the season starts.
Then it’s onto the regular season however, we can only watch and see how that goes. It was a great year for the Landmark Eagles and the family will be gathering back together to go to fight again in July. Until then, Landmark will be getting ready for 2020.