WCCA fans taking in state title appearancePublished 12:01am Friday, November 23, 2012
WOODVILLE — Chris McGraw may be an assistant coach for Adams County Christian School, but a piece of his heart still lies with his alma mater.
McGraw was on hand last week as Wilkinson County Christian Academy topped Newton Academy to win the MAIS Class A South State championship. Now, McGraw will be cheering for the Rams to win it all in today’s Class A state title game against Tri-County Academy.
Even if Tri-County is the favorite going into today’s game, McGraw said WCCA might be the only team in Class A capable of knocking the Rebels off.
“We have the speed to contain (running back Ryan) Cothern, we have size up front and the coaches know the game completely,” McGraw said. “Even if they’re first-year coaches here, they’ve coached elsewhere at bigger schools. If they can stop (Cothern) and get the ball downfield, they’ll be fine.”
The excitement the football team has generated for WCCA has been a huge plus at a much-needed time in the school’s history, McGraw said.
“The school needs it more than anything,” McGraw said. “Enrollment is down, and private schools need enrollment to survive. If you’re winning, you have more kids wanting to come play for your school. If you’re losing, you don’t.”
Dr. Bob Lewis, a lifelong Woodville resident who “walked into WCCA the day it opened,” also said the team’s success has been a huge positive for the school.
“We had a few kids leave, and we were kind of wondering about our direction and what’s important,” Lewis said. “This has really brought the school some unity. The people complaining seem to have quieted down, and I think in large part it’s because of (head coach) David Wright.”
Lewis said he doesn’t think Wright’s success as first-year head coach of the Rams is a coincidence.
“I think he’ll bring a lot of good things for our school,” Lewis said. “He’s there for the kids, and he demands a lot physically, but I think he’s fair. If he sees them working hard, he gives them a fair shake at playing time, and I think the kids respect that.”
Lewis was on the sideline when WCCA last won a state title in 1988, and he said the championship berth is a nice treat for long-time fans like him.
“We did fairly well back then,” he said. “We had a larger overall school. In the last 24 years, I don’t think we’ve been to the playoffs but three times, so this one is pretty special for us.”
Charslie Jensen, a history teacher at WCCA, was 8 when the Rams won in 1988. With her 5-year-old, Hunter, a kindergartner at WCCA, Jensen said she’s glad her child will get to experience the same state championship game excitement she experienced as a child.
“My son looks up to those young men tremendously,” Jensen said. “I appreciate that. Even though they’re on top of the world right now, they still take time out for younger kids.”
As a teacher for several of the players, Jensen said it’s extra special to see them have so much success on the field.
“They’re very nice, respectable young men,” Jensen said. “I couldn’t ask for anything more. They all say I’m like a second mama to them.”
Jensen said cheering for WCCA is a family thing, and Wright said the family aspect is what makes the WCCA job such a special one.
“It’s a family atmosphere,” Wright said. “The administration and all the people involved make you feel comfortable and accept you. Obviously, we love the support.”