WAXAHACHIE — For the past two weeks, the football team from Eastern Christian Academy in Maryland has been calling Ellis County home.
It’s a little bit different than what they’re used to.
“We see all kinds of bugs and snakes,” said Eastern Christian Academy head coach Dwayne Thomas. “It’s been a great opportunity for them.”
“I’ve never been to Texas, so it was a different experience for me,” said the team’s left tackle Jamie Herr.
They’re staying in the dormitories of Lakeview Camp and Retreat Center and preparing to play football teams from North Texas.
It’s a huge place — about 400 acres. There is plenty of space for these kids to run around and get a taste of what it’s like to live in the Lone Star State between Waxahachie and Maypearl.
It’s a bit different than what it’s like for them on the East Coast.
David Sills V, who broke his foot on Friday, is their quarterback. As a seventh grader, he received an offer from Lane Kiffin at USC. He has since changed his collegiate allegiance to West Virginia.
“It’s been a great experience for the team,” Sills said. “We were able to create some team chemistry.”
So far, they’ve taken on Euless Trinity and lost 41-32. Last Friday, they played DeSoto and lost 54-34.
This Friday, they’ll play Coppell before heading home. That’s 17 days of what has essentially been a training camp before school starts on Monday.
“The philosophy of the school is what we call three C’s — get the young people closer to Christ, get them to compete, and we want to get them to college,” Thomas said.
During a classroom session on Wednesday, Thomas used former Baltimore running back Ray Rice as an example of what not to do in everyday life.
“The problem with our country today, right now, is our men are not prepared to be men — bottom line,” Thomas told his young athletes.
Thomas said he’s ready to bring his team back to Texas again next year.