TYLER - For most of their history, Mike Maddox has been the man in charge of the Grace football team.
But a few months ago, he surprised a lot of people by stepping away from the sidelines. Now the Cougars are led by Norm Thompson, and he takes over a team that has high expectations once again.
Grace is coming off of a trip to the state quarterfinals in 2016 and while they did lose some key players from that team, they also return quite a bit of talent. The TAPPS preseason poll has Grace ranked 8th in the state, and while that's nice, the team is trying to avoid the talk about high expectations.
Coach Thompson says, "We'll play everyone else hard. You could put us 8 or 9, you could put us 1 or 2, we don't care as long as we're on top, that's the only thing that matters."
The Cougars will be tasked with replacing star quarterback Christopher Wilhelmi, but as has been the case over the last decade or so, they should still be in the mix to compete for the district title.
GRACE 2017 FOOTBALL SCHEDULE
Thurs. Aug. 31 vs. Waxahachie Life (at All Saints)
Fri. Sept. 8 vs. Canton
Fri. Sept. 15 at Waskom
Fri. Sept. 22 vs. Malakoff
Fri. Sept. 29 at Dallas Christian
Fri. Oct. 6 vs. Cedar Hill Trinity Christian
Fri. Oct. 13 at Cistercian Prepatory School
Fri. Oct. 20 - BYE
Fri. Oct. 27 vs. Prince of Peace
Fri. Nov. 3 at Bishop Gorman
Fri. Nov. 10 vs. Brook Hill