Road to fourth-straight state title filled with bumps for Russell Christian
MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - Winning a state championship is never easy, but Russell Christian Academy football coach Andy Braddock said winning this year’s trophy was more difficult than the previous three.
“It has just been a struggle since the beginning of the season,” Braddock said. “With COVID, having to put players in positions they’re not accustomed to playing in, having the whole senior class quarantined the day before a game...it’s been a struggle.”
Along with injuries and navigating the coronavirus, the Warriors had two regular season losses, which is a rarity for the program. Senior running back Destin Lea said the setbacks the Warriors faced in the regular season forced the team to work even harder.
“We took the losses we had as a learning opportunity and tried to improve on every mistake we made,” Lea said. “A lot of us seniors worked when we were at home in quarantine so that when we came back it was almost like we didn’t miss too much.”
As the season went on RCA pushed forward, finishing the regular season with a 2-1 record. The Warriors dominated Victory Christian 44-0 to open up Alabama Christian Education Association eight-man football playoffs and found themselves in the title game for a fourth-straight year. In a year filled with uncertainties one thing became certain Friday night — Russell Christian was crowned state champions again with a 41-6 win over Cornerstone Christian Academy.
Senior wide receiver Kyle Ingram said the win was in honor of former volunteer coach Lee Littrell, who passed away in Nov. 2019 from a heart attack.
“We were determined we wanted to go back to state and win it for him,” Ingram said. “It was amazing getting to be there for him and also winning it for him too.”
The Warriors will lose eight seniors next season, the most the team has ever lost according to Coach Braddock.
Lea believes the team is in good hands after seeing the way the underclassmen handled adversity this season.
“We had a bunch of younger guys who stepped up this whole season," Lea said. "They worked just as hard as all of us did and I feel like they have a good future ahead.”
Russell Christian ended its season with a 10-2 record.
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