When folks heard about the possibility of a start-up, homeschool football program, anybody would have understood if it took years to build something special.

Well, the Lighthouse Christian Chargers didn’t care to stick to the script.

In fact, they’ve collected so much hardware already that there doesn’t seem to be any slowing down.

Launched in 2006, Lighthouse Christian Athletics has won five National Homeschool Football Championships, and that’s why the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame proudly inducted the Chargers’ five national championship teams with the Class of 2022.

Specifically, the national title years cover 2008, 2009, 2013, 2014 and 2021. David Lohn, the founder, coached the first two national title teams, while David Staley led the next two before former Kansas City Chiefs lineman Brett Williams (MSHOF Elite 11 2020) took over the Chargers for the 2021 season.

Overall, it’s a story that’s hard to believe.

Lohn played at the Air Force Academy in the early 1980s before transferring to Texas A&M, then coached by Jackie Sherrill. He and his wife eventually made their way to the Ozarks.

“I had three boys and we were home-schooling them, and my wife suggested I start a home-school football team,” Lohn said. “It took me a year to be convinced it was the right thing to do.”

The hesitation was understandable, as it required time and money, especially for equipment. At the time, it was the early 2000s, and Lohn had been involved with another area home-school team, which ultimately merged into the Chargers.

From there, the program caught some much-needed breaks, especially after 14 players turned out that first year and led Lighthouse Christian to play 8-man football.

Lohn heard a Mississippi home-school program, Chamberlain Hunt, was folding, so he called to ask for equipment. Figuring the equipment retailed for $30,000, he offered $1,000. And it was accepted.

Then, after hearing former Louisiana State and Michigan State offensive coordinator Morris Watts on a local radio interview, Lohn reached out to Watts. The former coach ended up traveling to see practice, and that weekend created a playbook – free of charge.

Lighthouse Christian grew to 35 to 40 players by 2007, when it won an 8-man national title. It then jumped to 11-man football, and away the Chargers went.

The 2008 team (7-2) beat North Georgia of Canton, Ga., 23-14 in the inaugural NHFA Championship.

The Chargers were led by senior quarterback Josh Lohn, who scored on an 11-yard run in the third quarter of the championship game that extended Lighthouse Christian’s lead to 16-7. He later threw a 4-yard TD pass for the final score, and finished the season with 700-plus yards rushing and 13 touchdowns, and passed more than 2,000 yards and 25 touchdowns.

That season, in addition to Lohn, Austin Chambers, Daniel Garten, Trent Hosick, Joe Minner and Cody Askins made valuable contributions on the offensive side of the ball. David Beadles handled the kicking chores. Josh Lohn and Daniel Garten went on to play for Evangel University.

The 2009 team finished 7-5 and beat North Georgia 34-22 in the finals. Anthony Finzo, Caleb Swadley, Ethan Purvis, Joe Minner, Josh Taylor, Nate Lohn and Tyler Crain were named NHFA All-Americans. Nate Lohn went on to play at Stanford University.

The 2013 team beat defending champion Central Virginia Disciples 19-12 and finished 11-2. Lighthouse was the top-ranked team coming into the game, but the Disciples still had talent from the year before. It was 9-6 Chargers just before halftime, and that day Parker Crain was named the 2013 NHFA MVP while Adam Davis, Brady Bowen, Connel Cavanaugh, Josh Dunn and Seth Buie were named NHFA All-Stars.

The 2014 team finished 7-5 but was ranked No. 2 entering the tournament, then beat the Christ Prep Patriots of Kansas City 21-7.

In 2021, the team beat Tomball Christian Warriors of Texas 27-24 and finished 9-2. Parker Aguilera was named Player of the Year and NHFA Tournament MVP. Cooper Knight, Isaiah Miller and John Queen were named 2021 All-Stars. Bryan Morris, Joe Fleetwood, John Robillard were All-Star honorable mentions. Parker Aguilera went on to play at Evangel University.

Over the years, assistant coaches were Tom Hosick, Wil Purvis, Jamie Randolph, Dave Staley, Bob Brandon, Matt Hartzell, Scott Opfer, Joel Heman, John Hunt, Gary Locke, Brian Miller, Scott Morris & Kody Street.

“When I left in 2010, I told them, ‘Just keep the main thing the main thing – building Godly character in young men,” Lohn said. “I think they’ve pretty much followed those core values, and they been successful.”