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Countdown to Kickoff: Grace Christian Rams

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Randy McKamey likes his Rams.

Why shouldn't he?

Grace Christian returns nine starters on both offense and defense, from a team that went 7-3 in 2010.

Throw in sophomore quarterback Devin Smith, a player that received tons of recognition over the summer for his performances in several combines, and the Rams are loaded for a run.

However, Grace Christian isn't eligible for the postseason. The football program is in its last season of probation.

The school was punished by the TSSAA in the spring of 2010 for using an ineligible player. Football and basketball were hit with a two-year postseason ban.

McKamey feels for his seniors that will miss the playoffs, but he says once the game kicks off, any thoughts of a postseason ban disappear.

"When that whistle blows, the thing furthest thing from their mind is, 'we can't go to the playoffs,' cause these kids are competitors," McKamey said Wednesday afternoon as the team was taking its football pictures.

"When the whistle blows and the first second ticks off the clock until the last one ticks off, they're fighters. They don't think about that."

Wide receiver Jake Minga believes the penalties have brought the team together.

"It's more than winning a championship, it's about a brotherhood now," Minga said.

Grace Christian opens up the season August 19 at Carter.

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