On the trip back home from Boiling Springs, N.C., the Liberty football team celebrated a 24-0 victory over Gardner-Webb. Exhausted and weary from Saturday’s game the following day, the team prepared its game plan for Virginia Military Institute. After preparation, most players headed home, but some stayed behind.
For the entire football season, a group of football players meet on Sunday nights. Tired, bruised and battered from Saturday’s games and Sunday’s practice, they come together for a few hours. During this time, senior defensive lineman Cory Freeman leads the group in Bible study. No matter if the team wins or loses the day before, the group comes together to worship God and keep teammates, friends and family in prayer.
“Last week was a struggle (with Coastal Carolina University),” Freeman said. “It was my first (home) conference loss in about five years. We haven’t lost at home since 2006. But regardless, you find strong men that want to be around God and be in God’s word, which makes it better and is encouraging. You have men hungry for the word of God, and that itself brings guys in here.”
Four years ago, Freeman became involved in what God had placed on a teammate’s heart.
“When I was a true freshman in 2009, Zach Duke transferred this group from his old school,” Freeman said. “Duke said God told him to leave and to take his ministry to Lynchburg.
When he came here, he tried out for the team and made it. Since he brought this ministry, we have had athletes such as Brent Vinson and Brandon Robinson that took over the group.”
After Duke graduated, Liberty football Director of Spirtual Development Dr. Ed Gomes and other players kept the program alive. While this group is specific to football, other Liberty athletics have started their own programs.
Along with Freeman, senior cornerback Kevin Fogg and senior tight end Brandon Apon are leaders of the group.
Freeman, who is majoring in biblical studies, has been a part of the program since it began four years ago. He hopes that the tradition and program will continue after he graduates this spring. Freeman said the group focuses on being warriors for God on and off the gridiron.
“Over the years, I have spent a lot of one-on-one time with Gomes,” Freeman said. “This year, after the time we spent together, Gomes found it fit to place me as the leader of the group.”
With the influence of Gomes and the leadership of Freeman, this group has been able to branch out and lead others in the Lynchburg community to God.
“Gomes brings true character to us,” Freeman said. “To me, he has been influential in my life. He sees more than just a football player. … He sees a person who wants to bring honor or someone that can potentially bring glory to Christ. His whole outlook on us is to make us into godly men.”
This season, Freeman has 19 total tackles and 2.5 tackles for loss. Against Gardner-Webb, he recorded his first sack of the year.
“During the years, we have seen guys that have grown,” Freeman said. “We have a group that have developed and grown (in) Christ. I believe, through this program, we are going to branch out and show our love throughout the city and state. Our purpose is to bring glory to Christ on a national stage.”