Athens Review, Athens, Texas

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June 13, 2014

The heart of a champion

7 county athletes end high school career with one last competition

TYLER — Seven Henderson County area athletes will take part in their final high school football event on Saturday.

The Northeast Texas chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes is hosting the 2014 Heart of a Champion Bowl game at Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium in Tyler.

The game, which kicks off at 6:30 p.m., brings some of the best talent from the area for a week long event at Tyler Junior College.

The players have dealt with rain throughout the week, which has brought some changes to practice locations.

On Thursday, the teams had one last chance to talk with the media and take their official team pictures.

On the blue team, Athens graduates Chris Jefferson and Adam Stallings will battle five other area players.

The Red team consists of Nic Fincher and K.J. Cumby from Athens, Quentin McKenzie from Brownsboro, Josh DeMayo from Mabank and Raleigh Seilheimer from Cross Roads.

“(The emotions) are going to be high and the Red team is going to win the game,” McKenzie said. “I don’t have anything else to say.”

Jefferson said the game is more than just your typical football contest.

“This game is important because it shows how God has a plan for you,” Jefferson said. “We have learned about what God has for you as an athlete and we are learning a lot about our teammates.”

Stallings said he has learned a lot about the true purpose of being selected by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

“Basically, we are here to play football but we are also learning about God and knowing what to do to have a successful life,” Stallings said.

For all seven of the athletes, they agreed that the practices have been running smoothly.

“We care about the win and we are ready for them,” Cumby said. “Our defense is looking pretty good so I think we are ready for the game.”

Seilheimer said when his number is called to head out on the field, his emotions will show early.

“It is going to be pretty sad because I am not going to play again,” Seilheimer said. “I  will have the mind set to win and I want to shut them out. “

For Stallings, he is the only skill position player for both teams as he is penciled in as a running back.

Cumby said during their session that if the chance comes for Fincher or Cumby to get a chance at him, they are coming full speed.

“I don’t know about that,” Stallings said with a laugh. “I am going to come straight at him and I am a straight bull running north and south so we will see what happens.”

Fincher could play a position that he has not played in a long time.

He said he will be playing tight end and possibly guard during the event.

“I have learned a lot about pulling which I have not done in a while,” Fincher said. “It is a big change up from playing tight end but I am ready it.”

DeMayo said after having the opportunity to face all of the Athens guys the past two years, Saturday will be different with the talented players around him.

“It will be different because I still have the same mind set to win,” DeMayo said. “I am learning a lot and I have been pushed.”

Jefferson said after finding out that some of their team did not show up, the Red team thinks they have an advantage.

“They think we don’t have a squad because we have a lot of guys missing,” Jefferson said. “They think we are going to be tired and we are going to show them what we are made of.”

Fincher said he has been impressed with the talent that is in the North East Texas region.

“There are a bunch of goods athletes and we are going to try and give the Blue team a run for their money,” Fincher said.

Stallings and Fincher said if fans have nothing else to do on Saturday night, then this is a game that they should attend.

“I want to have fun with it and give it one more round with these guys,” Fincher said. “I think it will be really fun.”

“If they want to lay down a challenge, this is a game that is going to be a great game,” Stallings said. “It is going to be a game that if you are not out here you are definitely missing something.”

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