Heart of Champion: FCA All-Star games become more in wake of ath - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Heart of Champion: FCA All-Star games become more in wake of athlete deaths

KLTV Staff: FCA Heart of a Champion football teams KLTV Staff: FCA Heart of a Champion football teams

Today athletes from all over East Texas came together to take pictures. 

These recent graduates that competed in football, softball, baseballl, and cheerleading were all chosen to be apart of the FCA Heart of Champion All-Star games.

 "It's exciting. You know it's my last high school game before I go to college and I get to go up against athletes from bigger schools. It's preparing me for what I'm about to see at the next level," said Keenan Johnson, Tulsa signee and former Alto quarterback. 

"It's amazing because some of these guys I've been wanting to play with since I was little, but I've always lived to far away. So now I get to play with them and it's going to be fun," said Octavian Burrell, Bethel University signee and former Shelbyville running back. 

"It's kind of a challenge getting to play with some of these people you don't know, but then it's just a great thing to get all guys together and play a game of basebal," said Marc Schawrtz, former Tyler Lee catcher. 

"It's a good group of guys so it's easy to get along and we're all going to go out there and play our hearts out," said Eric Owen, former White Oak infielder. 

"They kind of stay close to the players that are from their school. But by Saturday, by Friday night that's it. They've made new teammates," said Robert Bardin, FCA Area Director. 

Bringing together athletes from the region through their sport and faith is the main agenda for these festivities. 

"I can tell them about my faith and my testimony. I can do it without any worries. That's what I love about coaching this game, I was able to do it last year and that's why I'm doing it again this year," said Clint Harper, Head Football Coach at Marshall and Blue Team head coach. 

But in the wake of losing former Harmony softball player Haley Johnson and Harmony cheerleader Bailee Russell it's become something much more. 

"There is no better way that we could honor Bailee and Coach Russell, and Haley from last year, then for the teams that are here this week to give everything. We know that if they were here with us that's exactly what they would do," said Bardin. 

"It's sad because of the fact that she's supposed to be here with us supporting. I know that we all have soft hearts for the family and that we want to cheer for her this week and show her that we are going to live on through her spirit," said Shyanne Vinson, former Mabank cheerleader. 

"They look out for each other, because they care about each other and love each other even though they compete fiercely against each other. There is something that overrides that," said Bardin. 

That something possibly being the belief that through faith we are all brothers and sisters, and we will all see each other again one day. 

Copyright 2016 KLTV. All rights reserved.

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