TYLER, Texas (KETK) — In just his first season in Tyler, Grace head coach Tim Russell has already turned the Cougar football program into a winner.

“That belief, if you don’t have that belief it’s not going to pay off, and fortunately since we been winning the guys are like hey this is something good. They bought in and give us the best effort every day and it’s fun to come out here and coach them,” explains Russell.

The Cougars finished the regular season at 9-1, and the players say a big reason for this turnaround season has been the dedication of the coaching staff.

“His effort, he puts amazing effort into us, he pours all of himself into us and gives us all of his efforts all the time and everything he has for us,” declares senior running back Jamarion Johnson.

“Him showing dedication shows us that he cares and we want to do him justice with our work on the field we got guys putting in pregame lifts and stuff before the games and we are just always putting in that work all the time,” tells junior linebacker, Dylan Taylor.

Grace finished the season with a share of the district title, and Cougar nation’s excitement for this team has been growing all year long.

johnson “Last year it was down, everybody knew that we weren’t going far but this year is different, everybody is supporting us, coming out to see us to midland and it boosts us and we know that we have a fanbase behind us. cheering for us,” smiles Johnson.

“It means a lot because I don’t know how to describe it, it just shows that people care about us that much to drive and put money to go that far is crazy. It’s insane man I’m getting a text from people at other schools that are showing up, they are like hey we don’t have the chance that yall got so we are coming out here,” declares Taylor.

As they get ready to start the postseason, Grace is looking to win their first playoff game since 2016 and continuing to lay the foundation for this new era of Cougar football.

Grace will take on Midland Christian at Gordon Awtry Field in Midland this Saturday at 6:00 p.m

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