Football is still a new thing at Alderson Broaddus University. The school finally brought the sport back last year after more than 80 years without it.
The school began serious talk three years ago of building a program from the ground up. First came the cleats and the jerseys, then came the moving of the dirt, and finally the recruitment of the future Battlers.
12Sports offers an inside look at the Battler program, as never seen before in the area. Alderson Broaddus coaches and players were nice enough to allow the WBOY cameras inside the locker room, for an all-access look at ABU football.
"First, I come down and sit in my locker for a minute. I get my head right, you know." Then I get taped up after that," Battlers freshman defensive back Chris Stephens said.
"We'll play the stereo and the system," Alderson Broaddus freshman running back Brandon Jones said. "I just listen to music and get ready for practice."
"Then we come out and we do what's called a walk through. We go through our installations," Stephens said.
"After that, we'll take a lap around the field and we'll start stretching," Jones said.
"Coach Creehan is pretty much the core of the team," Jones added. "He lets us know what's right and what's wrong. He puts us in the right position to make plays and for us to do everything well. He's almost like a second father to everybody. We all listen to him and we all respect him."
"We had no idea what to expect going into the year," Alderson Broaddus Head Football Coach Denny Creehan said. "When you have all these freshmen and redshirt freshmen. That's really what our team is. We don't have anything else. There's three seniors, three juniors and three sophomores. That's it. The whole rest of the team is freshmen and redshirt freshmen. So we had no clue what to expect."
"I've been a lot of places. But I've never had the privilege to start a program from scratch. I mean, if you remember the first press conference, we didn't even have a shoe lace, let alone a football. We had nothing. Now it's here and we've got the facility. We've got everything going for us."
"AB is a fabulous place. I mean, it is unbelievable," Creehan added. "This facility that you're standing in right now, there's not a nicer one in Division-II anywhere. So we're really excited about what we're doing. There's just no place like this. I don't think there's another place like this in the state of West Virginia."
"This is just the last game, or our last home game," Jones said. "We plan to just come out and execute like we always do."
"It's not going to happen right off the bat. You're a new program, it's not going to happen the first year you show up. But I'm telling you, you guys go through the off season together. You go through spring ball together. You hang out over the summer together. You get together and you go to camps. Over and over again. You get in the trenches with guys and you sweat and bleed, you hurt together. I'm telling you, that's going to be a bond that can't be broken," Battlers senior wide receiver Preston Bailey said.
"I appreciate you guys, and I love you all and I hope that we win this one today, lord," Bailey added.
"I've been in Division-I. I've been in pro football. This is the best gig that I've ever had. This has really been fun. I love doing what I'm doing. I love these kids. They've been great to work with. I couldn't tell you how much this has been fun for me, really," Creehan said.