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Rookie Head Coach takes over six-man team

Coach Jody Burnett is a first year football coach and he gets his start with the River City Believers Academy.  In addition to it being his first year as a head coach, it is his first year associated with the six-man style of play.  Six-man is different enough that a quick primer might be in order, so Burnett gave us some insight into this different style of football that we have all heard about, but may not really understand.


Six-Man Offense in 1939
Photo Credit: Archaeolibris

Six-man football began in 1934, when Coach Stephen Epler looked for an alternative way for small high schools, who didn't have enough players for eleven man, to have football teams. By 1938, Texas UIL approved six-man football as a sanctioned sport and 55 schools had adopted the concept. By the 1960's, over 160 six-man teams had formed in Texas. As of today, there are 195 six-man football teams which is almost four times the amount from the start of the league.

Players and coaches of the NFL such as Ed Sprinkle who played for Chicago Bears and coached for the New York Jets, and Jack Pardee, who played and coached for many NFL teams, where both six-man players in high school.

Six-man football is a different style of regular football with some alterations. It is played with six players, it is fast paced and every player on the team is eligible to be a receiver during offense.  Because of these rule differences, the scores in six-man can look like a basketball game.  There is a LOT of offense and one or two key athletes can cause tremendous point swings.

“It is a fast game, very similar to Arena Football,” Burnett said.

Jody Burnett

Coach Jody Burnett
Photo Credit: Jody Burnett

“I have enjoyed the “chess and checkers” of the game,” Burnett said.

Burnett has coached youth sports for over 15 years, but 2013 marks his inaugural season as a head coach at the high school level. Even though six-man football was brand new to Burnett, he researched it all summer, and networked with other six-man coaches including Tim Shipman (Fredericksburg Heritage Academy) and Chris Hogan (Grapevine Academy.)   In addition, Burnett attended the six-man clinic in Seguin, Texas this past June with the purpose of gaining more knowledge of the sport and to increase his coaching network.

“I am more excited for this opportunity than a child at Christmas,” Burnett said.

Coach Burnett was handed the position as head coach by the Principal of River City Believers Academy to develop the football program in his own way, “friendly and firm."  His mission is to become both a teacher and a student of the six-man game.   He hopes to have the finest program in the state. Burnett wants his six-man football program to "convey a sense of pride, sportsmanship and a competitive essence to the lives that he touches throughout the program."

“My dream and passion has been to coach football and to build boys into mighty men of integrity,” stated Burnett.

Photo Credit: John Quincy Hill

Photo Credit: John Quincy Hill

Six-man football was nothing new to the academy; however the school has had to make due with part-time volunteer coaches that changed from season to season. With Burnett being the sole coach for the program he handles offense, defense and special teams. This season, the academy has 12 players committed to playing Soldiers' football.

“My plan is to run a very structured and intense practice,” Burnett said. “I will emphasize speed and quickness - how to... how fast... how strong... ALL OUT.”

The team practices after school for a few hours each day with most of their games on Friday nights. The team will also compete in a round robin tournament and a few games that will fall on Saturdays.

Burnett is very satisfied with his team affirming that “the boys are teammates on the field and the best of friends off of the field creating a family like atmosphere for all involved.”

Good luck to Coach Burnett and the River City Believers Academy on their 2013 season. Below is the River City Believers Academy team schedule:


Photo Credit: Jody Burnett

9/6: @TX School of the Deaf, vs. Veritas Academy 5:00 pm
9/20: Home vs. New Life (District) 7:00 pm
9/27: @ CASA 7:00 pm
10/4: @ San Marcos Hill Ctry (District) 7:00 pm
10/11: @ Seguin Lifegate (District)
10/18: @ Atonement 5:00 pm
10/25: Castle Hills First Baptist Pink Out Against Breast Cancer! (District)
11/8: Home vs. Fredericksburg Heritage (District) Homecoming/Senior Night

by Natalie Newton
Lone Star Gridiron
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