A rising Valley Christian program looks to reach new heights in 2014

Arizona Sports News online

There have been a lot of changes surrounding the Valley Christian football program over the last couple of years.

First, they bring on a new coach in Jeff Rutledge who brought his experience of being the Quarterback for the University of Alabama, NFL quarterback for 14 seasons and part of two super bowl teams, quarterbacks coach at Vanderbilt and quarterbacks coach for Kurt Warner and the super bowl bound Arizona Cardinals in 2008 and much more to Valley Christian last season.

After last season where the Trojans finished 5-5, the school’s football booster club announced a stadium project to create a state-of-the-art field house and athletic performance complex around the school’s football field as well as new uniforms.

There is now a lot of momentum surrounding the program going into year two under Coach Rut with those plans in place plus the team the Trojans look to have on the field this season.

“We’re continuing to change the culture, and the boys are buying in more and more and committing to put in the effort to be successful,” Rutledge said. “We have some new students who together with the kids who are rising in the program, we are looking forward to see what we can do.”

The Trojans will have a lot of new faces on the team this year with quite a few eligible transfers and players rising within the program. Starting with the quarterback position which is Coach Rut’s specialty. While a starter has not been named yet, the two in position to compete for that role are Juniors Chris Williams and Christian Sanchez. Both have transferred to Valley Christian from Basha.

For whomever lands the starting job under center, there will be plenty of athletes for them to get the ball too. Senior receiver Riley Rhodes will return to the field after sitting out due to an injury sustained in the first game last year. In addition, some new players to watch are senior running back Gavin Stinson, who transferred from Hamilton, and freshman athlete Alijah Gammage who is the younger brother of ASU receiver and former Brophy standout, Fred Gammage.

Paving the way in the trenches will be a veteran group led by Seniors Brendan Dyer and Drew Steigenga. Coach Rut is also excited by the number of good players in the sophomore class that look to compete for starting jobs.

“As coaches we’ve been pleased with the work these boys have been putting in,” Rutledge mentioned. “You can see an increase in their commitment to their teammates and the program to get better and put in the work needed to do so.”

Valley Christian kicks off their 2014 season on August 30th on the road against Northwest Christian.