The stands were filled with fans, as the respective fields of play were also filled with several of the most talented senior athletes from around the East Texas area, as the Northeast Texas Fellowship of Christian Athletes Heart of a Champion sporting events were held last weekend.
The events, showcased by the Northeast Texas FCA organization, allowed several athletes in the sports of football, softball, and baseball to represent their now alma maters one final time.
The first events of the Northeast Texas FCA Heart of a Champion weekend were the Courtney Construction FCA Heart of a Champion All Star Softball Game, held Friday, June 9, at Irwin Field at the University of Texas at Tyler, as well as the Mentoring Alliance NETX FCA Heart of a Champion All-Star Game, held Friday, June 9, at UT Tyler’s Suddenlink Field.
On Saturday, June 10, the kings of the gridiron were in focus, as East Texas’s most talented football stars competed against each other in the seventh annual Chick-Fil-A Heart of a Champion All-Star Football Game, held 6:30 p.m. Saturday, June 10, at Lobo Stadium in Longview.
Courtney Construction FCA Heart of a
Champion All Star Softball Game:
In the Courtney Construction FCA Heart of a Champion All Star Softball Game, the athletic departments of Bullard Independent School District and The Brook Hill School were well represented, with Bullard ISD having two representatives, as well as two athletes and a coach representing Brook Hill.
Lady Panther senior shortstop Zoe Hancock was the lone Bullard player participating in the contest. Hancock, the daughter of Kim and Alex Hancock, has participated athletically in the Lady Panther softball, volleyball, and track and field programs, while also being active in FCA, Spanish Club, and Builder’s Club.
Hancock plans to attend Bossier Parish Community College, where she plans to continue her softball career while majoring in nursing.
During the Courtney Construction FCA Heart of a Champion All Star Softball Game, Hancock proved to be a valuable asset for the FCA Red team, proving the team with several big hits, as the FCA Red team defeated the FCA Blue team, 10-4.
The Lady Panthers also had a familiar face on the coaching staff, as head coach Megan Dobrinski served as an assistant coach on the FCA Red team.
Dobrinski has been the head coach for the Lady Panther softball program for three years, and coached the 2016 Lady Panther softball team to an appearance in the Regional Quarterfinal round of the playoffs.
This season, Dobrinski coached the Lady Panther varsity softball team to an overall record of 21-11, 8-2 in district play, as the team was named the District Co-Champions and Bi-District Champions. The Lady Panther’s 2017 season ended in the Area round of the playoffs in a best-of-three series against the Pittsburg Lady Pirates.
For Brook Hill, the Lady Guard varsity softball program also highlighted the roster, as senior first baseman AD Kuechle and senior shortstop Alyssa Duplichain took part in the competition.
Kuechle is the daughter of Jeff and Janna Kuechle. While attending Brook Hill, Kuechle has been involved as a member of the Lady Guard varsity volleyball, basketball, and softball programs, as well as the school’s FCA and Yearbook organizations.
Kuechle plans to attend either Tyler Junior College or UT-Tyler, and major in either chemistry or pharmacy.
Duplichain, the daughter of Lisa and Jason Duplichain, served as a shortstop for the Lady Guard and has been a member of the team for three years. While attending Brook Hill, Duplichain also competed for the Lady Guard on the women’s soccer team.
Duplichain plans to attend Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, and major in counseling.
In addition to the Brook Hill Lady Guard softball players on the roster, the Lady Guard varsity softball team was also represented by FCA Blue head coach Anthony Springer.
Springer recently completed his seventh year at the helm of the Lady Guard softball program, leading the team all the way to the TAPPS State Semifinals in 2016, also referred to as the TAPPS “Final Four,” where the Lady Guard fell short of their goal of a TAPPS State Championship with a loss to the Dallas Christian Lady Chargers.
In the 2017 season, Springer coached the Lady Guard to an overall record of 21-8, 6-0 in district play, as the team was recognized as District Champions and Area Champions. The Lady Guard fell short in the Regional playoff game against Fort Worth Christian.
Mentoring Alliance FCA Heart of a Champion All Star
In the Mentoring Alliance FCA Heart of a Champion All Star Baseball Game, the Panther varsity baseball team was able to score recognition on the coaching staff for the contest, as Panther baseball head coach Chad Linder served as an assistant coach on the FCA Red team.
Linder led the Panther varsity baseball team to an overall record of 12-16-1, 5-5 in district play, in the 2017 season, allowing the team to be recognized as Bi-District Champions. The Panthers’ season ended with a loss in the one-game Area round playoff contest against the Canton Eagles.
During the contest, the FCA Blue team was able to move ahead with an early lead. However, the FCA Red team was able to rally their way back and past their opponent, as the FCA Red team claimed the victory against the FCA Blue team, 11-7.
Chick-Fil-A Heart of a Champion All Star Football Game:
On the rosters for the Chick-Fil-A Heart of a Champion All Star Football Game were a total of two Bullard Panther varsity football seniors, as well as one senior player from the Brook Hill Guard football program.
For the Panthers, the football program was represented by FCA Blue team senior defensive back Tre Crayton and FCA Red team senior defensive lineman Derek Landrum.
Crayton is the son of Andre Crayton and Shimeka Boyd. While attending BHS, Crayton has been involved in organizations such as FCA and Spanish Club, as well as involved athletically on the Panther football, track and field, and basketball teams.
Crayton plans to attend the East Texas Baptist University in Marshall, and major in athletic training while playing football for the Tigers.
Landrum is the son of John and Kelly Landrum. As a BHS student, Landrum has participated athletically on the BHS football, basketball, track, and powerlifting team, while also being very active in the school’s FCA program.
Landrum also plans to continue to play football at ETBU, while majoring in kinesiology.
Representing the Brook Hill Guard in the seventh annual Chick-Fil-A Heart of a Champion All Star Football Game was senior middle linebacker Brooks Parham.
Parham is the son of Cheryl and Pat Hendrix and Greg Parham. While attending Brook Hill, he has also been involved on the Guard varsity basketball, baseball, and track and field teams.
Parham plans to attend Hendrix College in Conway, Ark., and play baseball for the Hendrix Warriors, while majoring in veterinary science.
During the seventh annual Chick-Fil-A Heart of a Champion All Star Football Game, the FCA Blue team was able to hold on at the end of the competition, securing its victory over the FCA Red team, 17-7.
FCA Heart of a Champion Cheerleaders:
As with many sports, there are cheerleaders, with the FCA Heart of a Champion events being no exception. The Bullard Panther cheerleading squad was also well represented at the weekend festivities, with senior cheerleaders McCall Cowart and Carley Goode selected to participate.
Cowart is the daughter of Glen and Cammie Cowart. She has been involved in BHS cheerleading, as well as Lady Panther volleyball and track and field. Cowart has also been active in FCA, National Honor Society, and the Bullard Future Farmers of America program.
Cowart plans to attend Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, La., and major in biology in hopes of becoming a physical therapist.
Goode is the daughter of Michael and Amanda Goode. In addition to her involvement with BHS cheerleading, Goode has also participated in the Lady Panther volleyball and tennis programs, as well as FCA, NHS, Health Science, and Spanish Club.
Goode plans to attend the Honors College at the University of Texas at Tyler and major in biology.
The head coach for the FCA Heart of a Champion cheerleading squad was former Bullard cheerleading sponsor Kelly Nichols, who has severed as the FCA cheer sponsor for seven years, and previously served for nine years as the Bullard cheer sponsor.
Sponsors for the 2017 NETX FCA Heart of a Champion events include Adams Engineering, Brickstreet Pharmacy, Cavender’s, Chick-Fil-A Longview, Chick-Fil-A Tyler, Citizens State Bank, Courtney Construction, First Baptist Church Tyler, First Christian Church Tyler, Kiwanis Club of Van, Mentoring Alliance, Philip Davin Edward Jones, Prosperity Bank, Prothro/Wilhelmi & Co., Pathways Financial Solutions, Ralph and Judy Stewart, Robert and Barbara Bardin, Roseman Wealth Advisors, Sonrise Prayer Ministry, Southside Bank, The Rogers Foundation, CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Francis Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, and UBS.