Pre season chat with Coach Shipman, Tammy and Wes Pack with Absolute Charm Real Estate!
The Heritage Eagles 6-man football program was born in 2002. Under the capable coaching of Tim Shipman, the program soon rocketed into fame—not only for the prowess of the athletes but for the clear character and sportsmanship which he and all Heritage coaches, players, and fans embrace. The team has found success on and off the field as Coach Shipman continues to develop well-rounded young men of God.
Hey guys, we are here today at a place that is near and dear to my heart. My daughter, Savannah, went to Heritage School from kindergarten through graduation, and Ceelie went for several years as well. I was a Heritage Cheer mom. I actually helped start the program years ago. And we are super excited and honored to be here at Heritage Stadium, we’ll call it, with Coach Tim Shipman who has been coach for how long?
“This will be my 18th season. Basically, I helped start the program. John Akins and others asked, basically they got together and they began to pray about it. They got a schedule. They got about nine guys together, but they needed a coach. And so about 2001, they came and asked if I would help get the program started, and I said nope. And, of course, the Lord had other plans. And over about two or three months they said, well, could you just come help us kind of have a little practice, or something like that. So we started out at the elementary playground, and moved over to a horse pasture ’cause we didn’t have our own field. Didn’t have Heritage Field or Stadium. So 18 years later, now we’re still trying to get things started around here”, says Coach Shipman.
I think you’re what the Dallas Cowboys used to say about Tom Landry. They would always say the only coach the Cowboys have ever needed. They wouldn’t sad had. They’d say the only coach they’ve ever needed. “If I could even be mentioned in the same universe with him is an honor. We play 6-man football, which is a lot of the same fundamentals as 11-man, however, the field is only 80 yards long. It’s about 20 feet in on each side compared to an 11-man field. And if you were to go around the state, I would say that you would find most teams have anywhere from 10 to about 15 to 18 players just because these little small towns and small private schools, that fits them better. This year we’ve got 10 guys who are ready to go. We’re young. Five of ’em are freshmen. We have one senior”, says Coach Shipman.
Yeah, it’s kinda like you’re building this year?
[Coach Shipman] Oh, absolutely, and so, it is a rebuilding year. However, you would be surprised what we can do. We’ve got a great junior high program and they have taught these freshmen quite a bit. I have to give them praises. And so they came in. We’ve got a strong freshman class. And we’re certainly not throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
You’ve had this experience before though, right? I mean, 18 years. You’ve rebuilt.
We’ve been down this road. In 2010 we had 10 guys, which was one of the best years we’ve ever had. We didn’t make it to the state game. We got knocked out in the semifinals. However, that’s really not what we bank our years on. We always ask ourself, we’re gonna know if we were successful 10 years or 12 years down the road whenever we find out if these guys, what kind of husbands and what kind of fathers and what kind of community members they turn out to be. That’s really our measure of success, more so than maybe six state titles or semifinal appearances and rings and trophies and those kind of things.
I was fixin’ to say, it’s kind of nice you got a few of those, don’t you? Six, right?
Well, I have been blessed with some incredible athletes through the years.
Well, the nice thing of what you here is, you know, football is kind of a step of what you guys have done. You’ve got these Christian values, and like it says on your board over here, building champions for life. If you don’t mind, explain a little bit about that. Because you’ve got a season up against you, and how do you not get so competitive and angry and be turned a heart of a lion?
Absolutely. Well, I think the most important part is just having your priorities and keeping them straight. Holding one another accountable. I think we have established a consistency. Some legacy in terms of what our priorities are. God first, family second, and we are third down here somewhere, and we put academics above football as well. Football is kind of way down here somewhere. We do use the opportunity. We talk about how we play in-between the white lines and how we behave and act, and choices we make outside the white lines, whether it be up in the classroom, outside the gate, outside in the community, at home as sons. And so, we simply have the philosophy of trying to use the game of football, just like many others do, to mold the character and the decision-making and the leadership skills of these guys. When you talk about building champions, one of the things we really strive to do is to define what is a champion? And I can tell you it’s not exactly what you might see ESPN defining as champions. And so this particular year we’re focused on seven old school values. Those are respect, loyalty. You have to earn what you get. Nothing is handed to you in life. Learning to be mentally strong. It revolves around also good discipline habits. So as we kind of build this season around those seven old school values, the other piece that we roll in there with each one of those is Biblical principles and scriptures, and things you heard me talk about. Putting God first. It’s easy to talk about, but even Coach Shipman, one of the things over these years that’s happened with me is sometimes there’s times in my life I haven’t put God first or I haven’t put family second. And it’s a great opportunity to model with these guys and to walk through life with them. We always call it a season of life. A journey that we go through in a football season. And this year is no different.
Speaking of season, you got a game coming up. Who are you playing?
So we have a scrimmage August 25th. It’s actually four teams right here at Heritage School at Heritage Field. It’s against Marble Falls Faith, San Antonio FEAST and Bulverde Bracken. We do make it a habit to play non-district and scrimmages against schools that are bigger than us just in trying to prepare for our own district and playoffs. Our first game is August 31st, Friday night, 7:30 at San Antonio Winston school.
When is your homecoming?
Homecoming is, we call it Flight Night, actually. Because usually the game ball comes in on a helicopter which is a fun, exciting night. Friday night, 7:30 you definitely want to come out here. One thing that we pride ourselves in is just creating an awesome family, good, wholesome environment. You can bring the whole family out. We are technically in the middle of a pasture. Some of the most beautiful sunsets in Gillespie County.Which kinda brings me to another philosophy. You’ll notice on our visitor’s sideline are bleachers and then on the home side there are no bleachers. We kind of do it old school and set up lawn chairs and stuff like that.
Have you ever been ejected?
Never. I’ve had my fair share of flags, mostly because I’m half way on the field and I get run over by an official or something like that. But I don’t know what you’re talking about. I’ve never raised my voice.
So how many games do you have this season?
We play 10 regular season games. Of course, five district, five non-district. And then after that, we hope to play about four or five playoff games.
When do the games usually start?
They all start at 7:30 Friday nights right here at Heritage Field, 310 Smokehouse Rd.
So what’s the history on this program?
In 2009, they were in the process of building the school. So we used to have an old train car that we kept our equipment in. A small train car box. It’s way over in the corner loaded with red wasps. And we dropped it off right in this spot where we’re standing in about waist-high grass. Of course, everywhere you see was waist-high grass. And we had a dream that we would have a field. We thought maybe some day. Maybe we’ll have lights. Who knows? And little by little, things started to take shape. In sticking with our philosophy of just having the kids take ownership and teaching them hard work and appreciation for what they have, we set out on a mission, ’cause we really had no other choice and we went and cleared some cedar for a family. And in return, they paid for the sprinkler system. And so, even between that time and building the field, the grass grew up to waist-high again. We didn’t use it for a year or two. And then one day we got a little bit more direction and we came in here with a disc, myself and another coach, and we just plowed it, dodging sprinkler heads. And after we plowed it under a little bit, we kind of leveled it with an old chain link fence and threw on some of bermudagrass seed. The last play of the game, Chad Johnson grabs their spread back, their stud, he grabs on to the jersey, ’cause we only won by two. They’re on the 15 yard line. He rips him down. Well, his jersey rips. He has a piece of his jersey in his hand, and Joe Meek comes and finishes him. Game over. And so, for years that piece of jersey was sunk into one of those boards right there. Noah Given, a junior, and John Fritz, a freshman.
More information on Heritage School visit their website – http://heritageschool.org
Heritage School provides a distinctive classical, Christ-centered education that prepares students for servant leadership and lives that glorify God.
Address: 310 Smokehouse Rd, Fredericksburg, TX 78624
Phone: (830) 997-6597