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Betsworth: Cedar Valley's Founding Father of Football

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa He's the football coach. He's the fundraiser.

He's a visionary.

Ed Betsworth is the man in charge of starting something from scratch. He will direct Cedar Valley Christian's eight-man football program at its birth.

"We've got a varsity football program, and it's kind of a miracle," he said Friday. "The money and the kids have come forth."

Cedar Valley will play a schedule of at least four games and maybe more in 2011. The Huskies kick off their new era Aug. 19 against West Central at Maynard.

Other games, all on the road, will be at Central City, Dunkerton and Midland. Games at Meskwaki Settlement School and Springville are pending.

Betsworth, 47, is a 1983 graduate of Sioux City North and played football at Morningside College in Sioux City, from which he graduated in 1988.

He coached small-school football at Lincoln Community (now part of the North Cedar district) in 1991 and 1992, then spent four seasons (1993-96) at Dunkerton.

Now, he'll be blazing a trail at Cedar Valley Christian, a small private school on Cottage Grove Avenue SE.

"We've researched this," he said. "I know our athletics director (Stephanie Hodge) has been in touch with the coach (Todd Dale) from Meskwaki and has picked up some pointers from him on how to start a program from scratch."

Meskwaki has had an eight-man program for two seasons. The Warriors were winless in their maiden season, then made the playoffs in Year 2.

Betsworth has a son and three daughters that attend CVC. He is the athletics director at LaSalle Middle School.

The school has received "a good amount" (Betsworth would not quantify it) of anonymous financial assistance to start the program.

"They were some good Christians that wanted to help fund this. It will get us through two or three years," Betsworth said.

He expects 14-20 boys to take the field this fall.

"We've got some good athletes," Betsworth said. "But a lot of them have never played football before. This is just a beginning year for us, a year to get experience and see what we've got."

Cedar Valley will compete as an independent this year. In 2012, the Iowa High School Athletic Association will insert the Huskies into a football district, and they will be eligible for postseason play.

One of the program's next priorities is to locate a practice and game facility.