Pacific Point Christian School will be fielding its inaugural football team in the fall. The private school in Gilroy—with a high school enrollment of 75—will play in the Pacific Coast 8-man league along with Anzar, Trinity Christian, Pinewood, Woodside Priory and either Cornerstone Christian or another school.
Pacific Point started kicking the tires on bringing football to the school near the end of the 2017-2018 school year. From there it took surveys to see if there was clear demand for the sport, crunched the numbers—both from a participation and fiscal standpoint—before enlisting help from outside sources to make sure the transition would be as smooth as possible.
“The superintendent and school board made it happen,” said Joe Lampkin, who is the school’s boys basketball coach and athletic director. “Our Dean of Athletics, Drew Snelgrove, also played a huge part in getting this up and running. None of this could’ve been done without them.”
Football could be a boon for Pacific Point, which also has its middle school on campus and its elementary school campus across town. Without a football or baseball team at the high school level, the school’s retention rate probably suffered a bit because baseball and football—along with basketball—are the three most popular sports among boys at the high school level.
“This is what the school needs,” Lampkin said. “A lot of people have been asking me about having a football team ever since I got here.”
Pacific Point will play its season opener on Oct. 4 and have an abbreviated five-game schedule. As the program grows, more games will be placed on the schedule. Snelgrove has a unique role in that he was brought in around five months ago to take care of all the “backend stuff,” like getting all of the coaches certified, revamping the athletic department, and anything and everything to help the athletics program at the school flourish and multiply in a variety of ways.
“We’ve set a pretty good foundation, which is why football is the next step in building this school,” said Snelgrove, who is also a bible teacher at Valley Christian High in San Jose and the Monte Vista Christian boys basketball coach. “In that it’s super exciting because the growth potential we have here is incredible.”
The Pacific Point school board and superintendent had already decided to launch a football program when Snelgrove came aboard.
“They were like, ‘This is what we’re going to do, can we do it?’” Snelgrove said. “I did some evaluations of the budget it would take and said, ‘Yeah, we can do it.’ It’s really fun to be a part of a school that has an administration that uses athletics in the educational process.”
Snelgrove said Pacific Point is revamping its fields in preparation to make it a hub of activity where youth sports teams and leagues use the facilities on an ongoing basis.
While Snelgrove worked diligently on the back end of things, Lampkin took care of and oversaw the day to day operations. Lampkin said members of his basketball team were begging to bring football to the school, “so I had to at least try.”
“We all sat down collectively last year and I didn’t think we would have the funds to build a $2 miillion gym, but we can maybe build a football program,” Lampkin said. “Our superintendent Shanda Adams brought in lot of help, our board approved it and so far it’s getting positive feedback.”
Pacific Point has hired Kyle Venegas as the football coach. Venegas is a CrossFit trainer and manages a gym at the Family Community Center in San Jose, Snelgrove said. Even though Venegas has no previous football coaching experience, Lampkin and Snelgrove are super excited for the hire and are confident Venegas will develop into a solid coach.
“He’syoung, energetic, and he’ll also be putting on some strength and conditioning camps for all sports athletes and teams,” Snelgrove said. “It’s going to be fun to see somebody like that providing camps and opportunities for kids to get in shape, whether they go to Pacific Point or attend other schools. We’re pretty excited about our head coach—he’s going to do some great things. It was kind of a godsend really.”
Pacific Point won’t have any home games for its inaugural season; however, Lampkin said the school plans on playing its Homecoming Game at Christopher High. Artavious Martin, whom Lampkin said is perhaps the school’s top athlete and leading scorer on the basketball team, can’t wait for the season to start. The 5-foot-11, 149-pound Martin has been playing organized football since he was in the fourth grade, starting with Pop Warner.
Martin attended Gilroy High his freshman year and saw action on the freshmen and junior varsity teams as a cornerback, receiver and returning punts and kickoffs. When Martin first heard the news that football might be coming to the school, he was elated.
“I’m pretty excited because I didn’t get to play last year, so it’ll be interesting,” he said. “With this being our first year having a football team, we could maybe build something special and surprise everybody. It’s really exciting because I get to kind of help the team and be a leader, and it should be a great experience.”
Even though he loves basketball, Martin said football is his favorite sport because of the contact and adrenaline that comes with playing the sport. Lampkin is looking forward to watching the athletes transition to the gridiron.
“We have a few kids who show natural ability, so it’ll be interesting,” Lampkin said.