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Unity Christian returning as strong as ever after postseason shutdown

The Crusaders lost their season to COVID in 2020
Unity Christian football
Posted at 3:27 PM, Aug 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-13 19:25:33-04
The Blitz preseason tour talks with Unity Christian senior Ryan Shinabery
The Blitz preseason tour visits with Unity Christian head coach Craig Tibbe

The 2020 Unity Christian football team was not just undefeated on the field -- it was dominant.

The Crusaders won all seven of their games by at least 17 points before having their season shut down due to COVID prior to their second round playoff game.

As 2021 gets going, Unity has not forgotten how it ended a season ago.

"We don't want to dwell on it but it's come up," 19th-year Crusaders head coach Craig Tibbe said. "I've asked them a couple of times about some of that stuff and I think it kind of got them focused. This has been a really good offseason for these kids and it's kind of pulled them together a little bit."

Unity Christian football
Unity Christian football

Unity Christian has 37 players on varsity this season, up seven from a year ago and more than a dozen from two years ago.

"It's going to come with some differences," senior guard and inside linebacker Ryan Shinabery said. "We're going to have to fight more for positions this year than normally playing both ways because we need to, but I think it's a really good chance to fight and have some fun with it."

The Saders won a conference championship for the first time in program history last fall, going undefeated in the OK Blue.

Unity Christian football
Unity Christian football

It was a welcome change after many years in the rugged OK Green and, prior to that, the OK White.

"It's kind of fun to see some new people and new teams and travel to new places," Tibbe said. "We've been a lot of different places, we've played a lot of different teams and so this kind of added some new ones for us that we hadn't faced much and we're looking forward to another year with the Blue."

Unity Christian's first game is scheduled for Friday, Aug. 27 at defending OK Silver champion Hopkins.