Grace Academy Plans to Lean on Their Linemen


Last year was a banner season for Grace.
They tied the record for the most wins in school history at seven.
They won their first ever playoff game.
And they made history against a long time rival.
Said receiver Tillman Smith:”We played Boyd. We had not beaten them in school history. We came out. We beat’em pretty bad, so it really boosted us.”
Said head coach Bob Ateca:”We got to the quarterfinals, and we lost to the state champion in the quarters. We felt really good about ourselves. So hopefully that will breathe into our kids that we want to be there again next year.”
To repeat last year’s effort, a lot of new guys will need to step up.
Said Ateca:”You know we only have three returning starters on both sides of the ball. It’s going to be a tough year with developing younger players, but I think they have the ability to do that.”
Said running back Justin Carter:”It’s kind of nerve racking because everybody thinks we are not going to be as good. Less players. Less people. We know we’ve got some big shoes to fill, so we are just going to go out there and compete and see what happens.”
The Golden Eagles may lack some numbers, but it appears they’ll won’t lack size.
Said Ateca:”Funny thing is that right now we have more linemen than we’ve ever had. It used to be that we had all the skill and no linemen.”
Reporter:”Do you kind of get a sense that there are a lot of big guys on this team?”
Said lineman Austin Starr:”I wouldn’t say big. I would say like talented. Movable. Powerful. More power than size.”
Said Smith:”We have a lot of linemen this year. Lot of them were freshmen last year. They’ve really worked hard in the off-season. A lot of them got a lot bigger. They are already getting stronger, so we’ll be pretty good up-front this year.”

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Rick Nyman grew up in Anniston, Alabama and attended the University of Alabama. His television career started at WJSU-TV in Anniston where he had the opportunity to cover SEC football with Alabama and Auburn. Anniston is just 20 minutes from the Talladega Speedway, so NASCAR was a big part of his sports coverage. Due to this he was able to interview Davey Allison, Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon, and several other top-name NASCAR drivers. Rick's next television job was in Savannah, Georgia, where he covered basketball player Kwame Brown (now with the Washington Wizards), who later became the first ever high school player selected as the top pick in the NBA draft. He covered the PGA Tour's annual swing thru Hilton Head and also had the opportunity of covering the Atlanta Falcons Super Bowl appearance in 1999 in Miami. Rick especially enjoys all the atmosphere, tradition and drama of college football. He also likes profiling sports personalities and learning what drives them both on and off the field. If he's not covering sports, he's either watching Seinfield or David Letterman, playing golf, reading, or working out. What he enjoys about Chattanooga is the passion people have for sports. The mountainous region of Chattanooga reminds him of his hometown of Anniston, which also has big, beautiful trees and plenty of hills. You can contact Rick at