Pigskin Preview: Grace Christian Academy


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – It’s not often you find a football coach preaching to his players to “abandon the middle.” Rest assured if you hear Grace Christian head coach Rusty Bradley do just that this season he’s not talking about the football field.

“(It’s) from Revelations 3:16 where it talks about being lukewarm and not to be lukewarm,” Bradley explained. “God wants us to be hot or cold. So we’re telling our guys we’re not going to be lukewarm we’re going to sellout, give everything we have everyday.”

With a senior rich roster this season, expectations are high for the Rams, and possibly the highest for senior Quarterback Cooper Riggs.

“(I’m) hoping he has another good year and he picks up where he left off,” said Bradley.

Riggs, who made the transition from wide receiver to quarterback in his junior year, threw for 3,053 yards on 234 completions and recorded 27 touchdowns in 2019. An on-field performance that led the first-year signal-caller to Mr. Foootball Semifinalist honors. Now in his second season taking snaps for the Rams, you won’t find Riggs with a list of personal accolades he’d like to accomplish.

“(I want to) help my team grow in any way,” Riggs said. “If it means run the ball, run the ball. If it means pass the ball forty times a game, just doing my role.”

Riggs will have plenty of help “doing his role” this season. The Rams have proven playmakers Michael Human and Grant Warwick back to stretch the field along with Caleb Curcio, who tallied 1,715 total yards and 28 touchdowns, returning as a spark for the Rams offense.

“We got two guys outside that can fly,” Riggs said. “Then two guys inside that I’ve always been familiar throwing to, I’ve got some good chemistry with them. I’m excited to throw to those guys.”

The Rams return seven starters on offense, and six on a defense anchored by the play of the Rams 2019 leading tackler Johnny Eller. Eller, like Riggs, was a captain as a junior for Grace Christian and in an unusual season, their leadership has been paramount for the Rams.

“They’ve been around,” Bradley said. “They are very vocal. They were captains for us as last year juniors and their leadership has just been incredible.”

Grace Christian begins their season Friday, August 21st on the road at Stone Memorial.


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