GILBERT, AZ - The Gilbert Christian Knights are 9-0 under head coach Larry Cain, and in possession of the number two seed as the Division VI playoffs get started.
When it comes down to it, Coach Cain has a simple explanation for why the Knight shave been able to cut through the competition this season. "It goes back to the kids' commitment to the football program and for this program to build. I think it has a lot to do with their conditioning and just their overall commitment to the program."
Gilbert Christian junior quarterback Bailey Anderson agrees. "It started with our summer program and just how hard we worked and we've really just become a group of brothers out here. We all care for each other and we know that we put in all the blood, sweat and tears, and that we did it together. So we might as well win together."
Anderson just started playing football, but he's already thrown for 1,574 yards, 24 touchdowns and just three interceptions.
"We have great athletes on the line. I have a great wide receiver corp., great running backs. I mean, it's just been a great bunch of fun."
Even though we'd typically associate an undefeated season to a long standing program with a lot of veterans, Gilbert Christian is fairly new to football. It's just their third year in varsity. However, Cain said they've "done a really good job with it and the kids have really committed. We have great facilities, we have a great weight room, we have great academics, we have everything, so these kids definitely benefit from that."
What you may not know is that there are just 178 kids in the entire school and they play eight-man football and Coach Cain has filled just 12 players on his 18-man roster.
"Eight man football is no different from 11-man football. It's nothing. It's the same exact game. It's no faster or anything. The only thing that's different is you have three less players and then on the field you'll see our sidelines are gonna be a little bit shorter. Instead of being 53 yards, I think they're 46."
For Bailey, 8-man football has been exactly what he was looking for.
"Eight-man football is great. I mean, it's fun, it's fast, it's, as a quarterback, it's kind of what you want it to be. I mean, getting to throw the ball around, also getting to run the ball a little bit, so it's been great."
The number two seed gives the Knights a bye this week. Next week, they'll play the winner of the Duncan-Ray game at home.