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Grace football in Tyler hosts Azleway for annual game
For the ninth year in a row Grace Community and Azleway Ranch play each other for a chance to live out a high school memory so many of us take for granted.
Taeler De Haes, KYTX 7:30 PM. CDT October 03, 2016
Enjoying a Friday night football game is one memory many can say they value, and to make sure every young man is able to experience Friday night lights, Grace Community invited Azleway Ranch to play a football game. This is the ninth year the two teams have played.
Azleway Ranch helps thousands of children who are at risk, and Grace head coach Mike Maddox said it is one game that his players talk about for weeks after.
"The importance of it is just being able to give back to the community and help a group of young men that have had a hard time in life," Maddox said.
He said it is about giving the boys the Friday night football experience they would not otherwise get. The drumline played cadences and cheerleaders danced as both teams ran through a game, making it as identical to a real high school football game as possible.
Grace senior Christopher Wilhelmi has played in the game all four years. He said it is nothing short of rewarding.
"Getting to be a part of their lives and really getting to know them - it's just a blessing for us to be able to do it," Wilhelmi said.
Azleway foster parent Booker Hooks said this is his son's favorite part about the fall, specifically the group prayer afterwards and being a part of the fellowship.
"It helps build their confidence, and it gives them a chance to feel important," he said.