Grace Polaris Church, then known as the Grace Brethren Church of Columbus, gave a sermon about “doing church” where you were in life and using your passions to serve Christ. As a result, Victor Melfe, Mike Cheeseman, and Tom Ensign decided to establish a youth football program called the Warriors. They went undefeated in their first season. This became the first season of the Columbus Crusaders football program.
The Warriors change their name to the Columbus Crusaders and play their first season as a Middle School team.
Our Cheerleading program is established.
The Crusaders field their first High School football team.
Mike Stanley becomes Head Coach.
Kevin Mitchell, our first alumni, plays his senior season of football.
Construction on our first Locker Room begins. It becomes known as the Barracks. It is located behind the Grace Polaris Church at 8225 Worthington-Galena Rd, Westerville, OH 43081.
The last home game is played at Upper Arlington Jones Middle School; our home field since 1996.
The Crusaders field their first Rugby team.
The Crusaders begin playing home games at the stadium at Grace Brethren Church of Columbus.
Many traditions, including the C.H.R.I.S.T. acrostic and our HONOR JESUS motto, are established.
Jim Tressel (Ohio State Head Coach) conducts a fundraising event to benefit the Crusaders.
The Crusaders retire the #8 jersey that Jered Pyles wore. Jered was the starting quarterback and passed away after his junior year of high school. On the day of his passing, he had penned a short essay confidently stating his faith in Christ.Learn more about Jered here
Mike Stanley steps down as Head Coach. Brian Stier becomes the new Head Coach.
Harold Jones-Quartey plays his senior season as a Crusader. Harold goes on to play football for four years at the University of Findlay. Then, gets signed to the 53 man roster of the Chicago Bears in 2015. In 2016, he is the Bears’ starting safety.
Ben Barlow (Crusader Alumnus, 2002) becomes Head Coach.
Home games begin to be played at Otterbein University Memorial Stadium.
Summer Flag Football and Cheerleading (K-8) is introduced as a Crusader sport!
Jase Robertson (A&E’s Duck Dynasty star) conducts a fundraising event for the Crusaders.
The Crusaders move to their current facility at Polaris Church (1250 Gemini Pl, Columbus, OH 43240). The current facility features a full Crossfit gym, two conference rooms, locker rooms for the Varsity and Middle School programs, athletic training room, full kitchen, large equipment building, and enough acreage to provide practice and game space for all levels of competition.
Rugby is reintroduced as a Crusader sport. Basketball and Winter Cheerleading is introduced as a Crusader sport.
Bethany Hamilton (professional surfer) conducts a fundraising event for the Crusaders.
The Crusaders complete their 20th season.
Our Rugby program wins the Ohio Division III High School State Championship!
The Columbus Crusaders continue to HONOR JESUS!
The Columbus Crusaders are founded in 1996 by Mike Cheeseman, Victor Melfe, and Tom Ensign.
Primary: Black and Red
Accents: White and Gray
In the early days, the Columbus Crusaders team colors were black and white. Red was later introduced as an accent color, with the three colors together representing Christ’s sacrifice for us on the cross- black symbolizing sin, red the blood of Christ, and white our sin washed white as snow. Over the years, the Crusaders adopted primarily red and black, adding accents of white and gray. One thing has remained: Crusaders always look sharp!
Head Varsity Coaches
Tom Ensign 1996 – 1998
Mike Stanley 1998 – 2008
Brian Stier 2009 – 2011
Ben Barlow (2002 Crusader Alumnus) 2012 – present
The Crusader logo has gone through a few revamps over the years. The many versions represent putting on the full Armor of God as referenced in the Bible in Ephesians 6. All logos have incorporated a shield, a sword, a Bible, or some combination of all three.
Sung to the tune of the University of Wisconsin’s “On, Wisconsin,” the Crusader Fight Song is sung following every Crusader victory. Each season, all Crusader players learn the fight song. As Coach Mike Stanley says, “Real men sing!”
The Crusader Hymn
The Crusader Hymn, sung to the tune of The Ohio State University’s “Carmen Ohio,” was written with Crusader alumni in mind, serving as an Alma Mater. It clearly expresses the heart of the Crusader ministry to honor Jesus Christ.
Post Game Huddle & I Will Bless the Lord
Following each Crusader game, whether a win or a loss, the Crusader family- parents, siblings, alumni, and fans- gathers with the team in the post-game huddle. At the end of post-game remarks, together they sing “I Will Bless the Lord,” a song chosen to refocus and remind all Crusaders that win or lose, we praise the name of Jesus Christ.
I will bless the Lord and give Him glory;
Oh, I will bless His name and give Him glory.
Oh, I will bless You, Lord, and give You glory;
Oh, I will bless Your Name and give You glory.
A phrase first coined by Coach Ben Barlow in his inaugural season as Crusader head coach, following a Crusader victory, all Crusaders Sing Twice: First, they sing I Will Bless the Lord, and then, following team prayer, the Crusader Fight Song. The Sing Twice tradition was inspired by the annual Army-Navy football game where, post-game, both team’s fight songs are sung, with the victor’s sung second. Coach Barlow modified “Sing Second” to the Crusader’s “Sing Twice” as motivation toward and celebration of victory