HomeNewsFormer Vols kicker glad to have platform to speak about faith

Former Vols kicker glad to have platform to speak about faith

Chase McGrath grew up in California, playing mostly soccer before eventually joining the football team at his high school, Mater Dei, as it’s kicker.

He walked on to the program at the University of Southern California before transferring two years ago to the University of Tennessee.

That move would prove big for McGrath because it opened his eyes to Southeastern Conference football, the South and eventually paved the way for him to live in the memories of the current generation of Vols fans since the program’s first win over Alabama since 2006 happened at the last second because of his foot.

“Yeah I was aware of a lot of the rivalries and how big football is in this part of the country, but you never really know about it until you experience it for yourself,” McGrath said. “I’d heard about the Third Saturday in October and the Cigar Game, but what we experienced at Neyland Stadium last fall was like nothing I’d ever experienced before.”

McGrath was in Humboldt last Friday speaking at The Church at Sugar Creek. His appearance was a part of the annual summer tradition called Night of Champions, in which a number of high profile athletes and coaches who are public about their faith in Jesus Christ will appear at churches to speak in front of multiple football teams a few weeks before their seasons are set to begin.

Trinity Christian was one of about a dozen teams at Sugar Creek. The same night, South Side and other teams were at First Baptist Lexington listening to Tennessee Titans quarterback Malik Willis talk.

But TCA and the other teams in Humboldt were treated to something special as not only was McGrath there, but so was the actual ball he kicked through the upright to beat Alabama 52-49.

“I watched the film of the play the next day, and I saw that one of our managers actually went behind the goal post to possibly catch the ball if it got there,” McGrath said. “And I saw that he caught it, so I found him in our facilities on Monday when I got there for practice and asked him if he had the ball.

“He did, and I told them I understood if he didn’t want to give it to me, but I let him know I’d really like to have it. He was great and let me have it.”

McGrath and his parents, who were also in attendance, are protective of the ball and were subtly adamant about not letting anyone too close to it without their permission or letting it out of their sight.

McGrath said he was glad to get to this end of the state because he never had much of a chance to get out of Knoxville much when he was in school.

“I got to experience Middle Tennessee some with a game at Vanderbilt and a couple of other visits, but I never made it out this way,” McGrath said. “It’s nice with all these small towns, and it’s been a great chance for me to see what life is like in areas like this.”

McGrath said he’s appreciative of the chance to have a platform – mostly because of one kick at the end of one game against Alabama – to let others know about his walk with Jesus and to encourage them.

“I was glad to get to know about others’ walk with Jesus, and if anyone is interested in hearing about my walk with Him, I’m glad to tell them no matter what the environment is,” McGrath said. “So I’m glad to be here doing this, because I feel like it’s what God wants me to do with this platform.”

Brandon Shields, brandon@jacksonpost.news

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