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Valley Christian football welcomes new coach in first ever spring game

By Loren Kopff

Although he was hired in early April, the Woodie Grayson era at Valley Christian officially began last Friday night when the school held its inaugural spring football game. In a battle between 22 players wearing maroon jerseys and another 22 wearing white tops, the game was played to a scoreless tie.
But it wasn’t about who won or how many touchdowns were scored. It was about promoting V.C. football, especially with Grayson becoming the 13th head football coach in the 68 years the school has had a football team. It was about bringing the V.C. community closer with the upcoming new team that will kick off the 2013 season on Aug. 30 at Duarte.
“It was really just a simple concept when Woodie and I talked about it,” said V.C. athletic director Zac Chan. “We wanted something to just culminate the spring practices. We didn’t want to end and say, ‘see you in the summer’. We wanted something fun and something the kids can look forward to; a tradition that hopefully we can build on for years and years and years to come.”
“It was just a great atmosphere tonight,” Grayson said. “It felt like an August Friday night, a September Friday night. To have the canteen open, the band and all of the people in the stands, it just felt like a real Friday night football game. I thought it was important to set that tone.”
Chan said he received 75 applications when the job became available following the departure of former head coach Erick Streelman. A committee of eight people, including Chan, narrowed that number to 18 and from that, invited 10 for an interview. Three people were then called back for a second interviewed and Grayson won over the committee, mostly because of three specific qualities the committee was looking for.
Chan said the candidate’s faith and where he goes to church, his football knowledge and the understanding of a small school system were of the upmost importance in the hiring process.
“There were three things that we were looking at for every candidate,” Chan said. “You look for 10 or 12 different qualities within each individual. But there were three that we really focused on that we felt Woodie was the only candidate that met all three.”
Grayson grew up in the Brethren Christian school environment and had spent the past 19 seasons at Mayfair High School, six of which as the co-head coach with Mike Fitch.
Chan added that the student body at V.C. extends as far east as Brea and as far west as Torrance but V.C. is still considered a community school.
As for the game, Adam Range of the maroon squad led everyone with 97 rushing yards on 15 carries while Jonathan Nicholson of the white team had 32 yards on 11 touches. Chandler Vos on the maroon side caught four passes for 51 yards, all coming from jack Struiksma.
“In a spring game, it’s hard to get a run game going,” Grayson said. “But for those young guys up front to actually make some blocks and open up some holes at times to give those backs a place to run…Range ran hard and Nicholson ran well with speed when he had daylight. The quarterbacks, I thought, performed pretty well.”

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