On a warm, sun-splashed Saturday afternoon, history was made on the Summit Christian Academy campus.
You see, the Summit Christian Academy Eagles played their very first home varsity football game Sept. 14. Maybe the outcome didn’t matter as much, a 12-0 loss to the University Academy Gryphons, as what this moment meant to the players, coaches, students, parents, staff and anyone else associated with the school.
“I really believe this first game was awesome for us,” Eagles head coach Dalton Vann said. “We had a nice crowd for a school in its first varsity football game. It still hurts when you lose it, but the significance of having football at our school just proves that God is still working. He brought us a team. He brought us a field. He got us bleachers. We’ve got kids from all over. I’ve got a wonderful staff as well.”
This was the moment a foundation had been set for future football players to build upon. Listen to senior wide receiver and linebacker Donovan Kim who played in his last, first home game:
“It means so much to me,” Kim said about being a part of this program. “I remember growing up wanting to play football and knowing that there’s a football team here, it’s a great experience. Everyday we’re getting better. Everyday we’re growing. We’re learning a lot. It’s fun to be with my favorite people, my favorite coaches, playing the game we love. I’ll be excited to come back with my kids when I’m older to tell them that I was on that first team and see how much this school and football program have grown.”
Vann knows he has a tough road to hoe with a very young squad at a very small school, but that’s not necessarily a negative.
The Eagles, 0-3, play two freshmen quarterbacks in Sam Huckabee and Camden Sprouse who will gain valuable experience during the next four years. Then there is freshmen running back Tori Hicks who shows speed and agility. And finally, sophomore wide receiver/defensive back Ross Parke, who has good size and could continue to grow during the rest of his high school career.
“We’re just waiting for a breakout,” Parke said. “The coach’s told us we needed to have faith in each other and, if we stick together, we’ll be able to execute.”
In the Eagles two previous contests, they fell to Normandy 38-14 in week one and then to Sedalia Sacred Heart 20-14 in week two. They have stayed competitive in all three of their games.
“I’m truly blessed to be in the situation I’m in and be a head coach at a school where you can profess your faith anytime you want to,” Dalton said. “Leading these kids to become young men of Christ, that’s the ultimate goal. If you can do that, it’ll be better than any touchdown you could ever score.
“I’ve got a very, very young football team, and they are competing. Sometimes we have seven freshmen on the football field, and I don’t know if anybody else can say that, but they are competing and doing a great job.”