McKenzie brothers adjust to Trinity

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 6, 2010

NATCHEZ — Tip and Trae McKenzie were used to being the star athletes at WCCA.

But after moving in with their father, who lives in Natchez, the McKenzies transferred to Trinity Episcopal, where they’re now just one of many stars on a team with championship aspirations.

This hasn’t bothered either McKenzie brother, though, as they both said they’re happy to do whatever they can to help the Saints repeat as state champions this fall.

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“I’m just happy to be a part of the family here at Trinity,” said Tip McKenzie, who will be a junior this season.

“We already have a bunch of good athletes here, like (Kent) King, (Givonni) Dent, Eric James and Kevin Brown, who came over from Huntington. There are a lot of seniors here, and I’m just looking to play my part.”

Trae McKenzie, a sophomore, said coming to a team with such high expectations hasn’t fazed either of them.

“The adjustment has been easy for us both. Everything has been going pretty smoothly. There are a lot of expectations here, but we don’t feel too much pressure. We’re pretty comfortable,” Trae McKenzie said.

And the coaching staff at Trinity has been quick to embrace the duo. Head coach David King said it wasn’t just their athletic abilities, but their work ethic that makes them stand out.

“Having been around those two kids at track meets the last few years, I knew they carried themselves well,” King said.

“When they enrolled, the first thing I did was call their former coaches (at WCCA), Ray Olive and Sam Byrd, and they both told me they were two of the best kids in their school.

“On the first day the practiced, I sat them down and explained how we did things at Trinity, and they have followed those guidelines to a T.”

Tip McKenzie said his strengths as an athlete have to do with his ability to learn the game.

“I’m can think the game well. I’m a student of the game. I also have speed, and my strength allows me to get yards after contact, and get physical when they try to press me off the line,” Tip McKenzie said.

Like his brother, Trae McKenzie said learning the game is something he enjoys.

“I like to sit back and watch the game. My size and strength have helped a lot, and I have good hands, so I catch the ball well,” Trae McKenzie said.

Even though Tip is an accomplished athlete, he said the most important thing is helping the team win.

“I’ll just do my part, and everything will end up well. I’ll just play my role, and the coaches will handle the rest,” Tip McKenzie said.

And King said the brothers understand that they can’t just walk into Trinity and expect things to be handed to them.

“They’re coming onto a very talented football team and they both know that. We’ve got some guys that have played at Trinity since they were babies,” King said.

“They understand there’s a process before you jump in there. They both have ability, but they have good attitudes, and I’m excited to have them here, there’s no question about that.”

As far as what will make for a successful season this fall, Trae McKenzie summed it up in two sentences.

“An undefeated season. It’s all about the team,” Trae McKenzie said.