The Grapevine Faith Christian football team reached the state semifinals last season. This year, the Lions finished the job.
Faith won the TAPPS Division II 4A state championship this season, defeating Austin Regents by a score of 30-29 to bring the first-ever state championship to Faith Christian School.
The Lions finished 11-2 on the season and avenged their only district loss to Midland Christian in the state semifinals to reach the championship game.
Coach Kris Hogan said he could not be more satisfied.
“I’m very happy for these young men,” Hogan said. “They earned something that very few people attain, and seeing the joy and excitement in their eyes was a true blessing to me.”
It’s such a surreal feeling that we did something that we’ve been dreaming about as little kids.
- Faith wide receiver Jake Mitchell
One point separated Faith and the previously unbeaten Austin Regents in the state final, and Hogan said the game definitely lived up to its billing.
“It was a great game between two great programs,” Hogan said. “It was not typical of most games these days as it was a defensive battle, and I think that added to the excitement because every point seemed to have a premium on it. I was also proud of how our kids fought through some adversity with the team not being at full strength.
“R.J. Reynolds, arguably the best defensive player in the state in Class 4A, could not play, and Keyshawn Wyatt, the leading rusher in the Metroplex, was hobbling along about 65 percent on a badly sprained ankle. Yet, the team responded well and played with lots of heart, finding a way to derail an undefeated team on the biggest stage.”
Offensive lineman Cooper McCaw (Liberty University) said that he believes it was a loss during the non-district schedule that gave Faith the motivation it needed to go on the kind of run that it did.
“The thing that made this team so special was our passion,” McCaw said. “Early in the season, we lost to the No. 1 team in UIL 3A. We used that as a motivation to work even harder. Up until this point, some people looked at Faith football as the ones who could never finish. We had to prove them wrong.
“I don’t think there was a team in the state of Texas who had the same drive and determination that we had. Everyday we had to get better so we could achieve our goals. In the end, our hard work payed off and now the Faith Lions are on top.”
Receiver Jake Mitchell, an all-state selection, said winning a state championship is almost indescribable.
“It’s really cool to be a part of the first team to bring home the state title,” Mitchell said. “We’ve talked about winning state since junior high and after years of hard work, it has finally paid off. It’s such a surreal feeling that we did something that we’ve been dreaming about as little kids.”
Hogan said he hopes his team takes away a couple of things from this season.
“I hope they remember that all great things in life are earned, not given. If it is valuable, it has a steep price. These guys walked a path that required hard work and dedication, so I think they have a keen understanding that anything worth having has to be worked hard for.”