RECRUITING: Pederson Building a Powerhouse at Calvary
Just five short years ago, the Calvary Baptist Academy football program was non-existent.
by Matt Reynolds
In a bitter break from Evangel Christian Academy, many families decided to transfer their children across Shreveport to the football-dormant private academy in Calvary Baptist.
Calvary had several fortuitous factors going for them in the early goings of the rebuilding a high school football program that had been shut down for twenty years. Calvary for one, is a private school and has the fortunate option of having high school students attending their school without having to worry about zoning restrictions.
The Cavaliers also had a ton of support from the ex-Evangel crowd that was flooding into their new community in droves.
But maybe most importantly, Calvary went out and landed a coach with mountains of football experience – from the college ranks to the NFL. Former Green Bay Packer and Northeast Louisiana University quarterback Doug Pederson was the man chosen to build the pigskin program back up.
Pederson’s football career originally began when he was signed as a rookie free agent by the Miami Dolphins in 1991 out of the NLU – now known as the University of Louisiana at Monroe. For several years, Pederson bounced on and off of the Dolphins’ roster, spending time on their practice squad before settling onto their roster in 1993.
In 1992 Pederson quarterbacked for the New Jersey Knights of the World League of American Football.
The Bellingham, Washington native again played in the World League in 1995, taking snaps for Rhein Fire.
In 1995 Pederson was selected by the Carolina Panthers in that year’s expansion draft, but he was released by the Panthers prior to training camp that year. For the 1996-1998 seasons, Pederson backed up long-time NFL great Brett Favre in Green Bay.
In 1999, Pederson signed with the Philadelphia Eagles to serve as a temporary starter until then-rookie Donovan McNabb was ready to start. The next year Pederson filled the same role for the Cleveland Browns and their sophomore quarterback, Tim Couch.
Pederson joined Green Bay again in 2002, and he remained the backup quarterback there, up until his retirement after the 2004 NFL season.
A journeyman player, Pederson has quietly filled a niche for over a decade in the NFL as a capable backup quarterback. Considered by many as the ideal player-coach, Pederson in recent years has been assisting star quarterback Brett Favre, helping him prepare for games and feeding him bits of advice during games to help the future Hall-of-Famer keep his cool. Pederson rarely saw action on the football field due to Favre’s amazing durability.
Pederson retired from the NFL in 2004 after an injury.
The next year, Pederson took over the Calvary football program and led the Cavaliers to a 5-5 season and a playoff birth in his first season as head coach.
Scott Ferrell – sports editor of The Shreveport Times – said that there were several reasons that have led to success at Calvary.
“One thing you they got when they hired him (Doug Pederson) was instant credibility,” Ferrell said. “You have a guy that had a long career in the NFL and had a great college career at an area university. He knows how to coach young players and a guy with Pederson’s kind of experience can surely make an impact on a young player. You add that with the addition of disenchanted former Evangel students and you knew they had a chance to be successful. They have been able to develop some great facilities out there (Calvary) and that has obviously helped as well.”
In 2007, Pederson led the Cavaliers to the state semi-finals and a 12-1 record on the season. Calvary was quarterbacked by Jake Booty – the youngest brother of Josh and John David who played their careers at Evangel.
Khiry Cooper was without question Pederson’s big time threat last season. The wide-out was eventually lured to Nebraska by former LSU defensive coordinator Bo Pelini. Cooper – also a standout in baseball – was one of top ten rated wide receivers in the country in ’07.
Again this season, Pederson will have another stellar wide out to help guide his squad in 6’2, 180 pound Derrick Colton. At the moment, Colton said he is interested in LSU, Alabama, Arkansas and Oklahoma as possible options for college.
John Michael Miller – a threat on both sides of the ball for the Cavaliers – will be another player that gets ample recruiting attention in the upcoming season.
In only four short years, Pederson has worked his magic and is quickly putting Calvary at the forefront of prep football in the Bayou State.