Randy McKamey's Rams roll on after tragic offseason

Randy McKamey and his Grace Christian Rams are keeping the late Will McKamey in their thoughts as they enter the 2014 season.

Many football coaches will tell you they take things year to year.

From fall camp to the final whistle, it's draining.

For Grace Christian coach Randy McKkamey, who's team lost in the 2-A semis last year, there was heartache -- enough to make him wonder yet again, could he keep doing this?

Unfortunately more heartache was on its way -- a tragedy that affected both his immediate family and his football family.

The question arose -- would he come back?

But for Randy McKamey and his Rams, where there's a Will, there's a way.

"Yeah that question was there for me," said Randy McKamey. "But I know what he would want me to be doing, and so I get motivation from that."

Five months after Grace Christian coach Randy McKamey's son Will died after collapsing at a Navy football practice, his spirit and his name still live on at Rams practice.

"We don't hide behind it, or not mention his name," said McKamey. "If somebody thinks of a funny story, or a great play or a busted play, Will's name will be the first one brought up. I think that's how it should be."

Will's going to be with the Rams all season, memorialized on the team's new Navy-inspired he

Number 24 for Will. Number 20 for Austin McReynolds, a former Ram who also died this offseason after being struck by a drunk driver.lmets.

"During the spring me and the seniors decided to dedicate the year to Will McKamey and Austin McReynolds and their families," said senior Cameron Kuerschen. "We're trying to do what we do and do it for them."

What the Rams are trying to do is get to the state title game.

They lost in last year's 2-A semis.

"For us this year it's state or bust," McKamey said. "My theory behind it is, football is too hard, it's too time-consuming to not come out on top. If you're going to put all this effort in to it, why would you not want to go as far as you can?"

Grace loses a big piece. in quarterback Devin Smith who's now a preferred walk on at Tennessee.

"That's huge to lose him. His arm was incredible."

But plenty of playmakers are back like Kyron Inman, Kobe Kelley and Cameron Kuerschen

"We're going to be ready," said Kuerschen. "We've still got a bunch of work to do but people are going to step up and and people are going to be ready when the time comes."

Helping up front is 6-foot-8 senior Clay Keaton.

"We just want to get out there, work hard, win all the games, hopefully go 15-0, hopefully get out there, get over that semifinal hump and get to Cookeville." Keaton said.

And if they get there, they know Will McKamey will be with them.

"He was just a great player and even better person," said Kuerschen, "so we just like to honor him in that aspect of it."


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