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It’s about learning the game

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Hernando Christian Academy strives to keep its student-athletes both mentally and physically active within their sporting programs, and their six-man football program is the school’s popular venue. Although the roster may be small, currently at 15 players, their dedication and drive make up for it. “We are doing pretty good,” said Coach Raley. 

Lions’ Trenton Sellers receives the kick-off to run over 60-yards to score against First Coast Christian on the first play of the game. Photo by Alice Mary Herden.

The Friday, Oct. 29 game against First Coast Christian ended with a loss for HCA with a score of (51-20) just a week before playoffs. But actually, that’s ok according to Coach Raley. What prepped HCA for the playoffs was going up against the top two teams in the state towards the end of their season.

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They faced Gainesville Christian Community on Oct. 22 and ended with a (63-40) loss. Absorbing their loss against First Coast Christian, Raley explained that these experiences are beneficial to his players. “We have a nucleus of very solid kids that have been with us for a number of years. A lot of my kids are just learning how to play, and we wanted to take this game as a learning game to learn to play against this type of speed,” said Coach Raley. “Every year, I have to mutate my system to what my kids can do. This year is completely different from last year.”

Lions quarterback Larson Lott shakes hands with First Coast Christian’s Dalton Kassner after the coin toss. Photo by Alice Mary Herden.

Right now, the concentration is on the playoffs.  Applying and adapting to what they learned on the field against Gainesville Christian Community and First Coast Christian is essential going forward to increase their strategic plans. “We all are learning what we are doing and getting better all the time,” Coach Raley said. The Lions travel to Jacksonville to face Impact Christian Academy in the 2021 FCAPPS playoffs. 

Alice Mary Herden
Alice Mary Herden is an award-winning professional photographer and writer focusing on nature and wildlife. From 2008 to 2021, Alice has owned Green-Fly Media LLC, a freelance photography business. She freelanced for Hernando Sun for five years covering sports, community, and environmental reporting. Alice was nominated for Agricultural & Environmental Reporting for articles published in Hernando Sun in the Florida Press Association Weekly Newspaper Contest. She placed second for Agricultural & Environmental Reporting and was awarded first place in Portfolio Photography in 2018 and took home first place in 2019. She was awarded the Robert J. Ellison Memorial Award for Portfolio Photography in 2018. She published three online magazines, Voices to Visions, a Dust and Shadows Magazine, which featured haunted locations and interviews with paranormal celebrities. Football Magazine was the first minor league football magazine in the state of Florida based on the United Football Federation football league that featured game coverage, interviews including former NFL players and College Coaches. She also created RAW- Real Amazing Wildlife featured nature and wildlife photography. Since 2015, Alice has been a volunteer at Chinsegut Conservation Center located in Brooksville, Florida. She helps with programs as well as organizing nature photography workshops. Alice is also a co-organizer for the yearly event ‘Chinsegut Wildlife Day’ and the ‘Wild Florida’ Photography Exhibit. Alice obtained two career diplomas, Wildlife/Forestry Conservation and Freelance Writing, from Penn Foster in 2019. She completed the Florida Master Naturalist Program core module courses: Upland, Freshwater, and Coastal Systems through the adult education UF/IFAS Extension program to obtain her Master Naturalist certification in September of 2020. She completed the Land Steward and Restoration Courses to obtain her title as an Advanced Master Naturalist. In September of 2020, Alice enrolled in a course at Cornell Lab Bird Academy to obtain her certification in Ornithology: Comprehensive Bird Biology, which she completed in October 2020. In January of 2021, Alice was hired for a part-time position with FWC as an Educational Specialist and in June of 2021 hired as Sponsored Project OPS for UF/IFAS in Hernando County. She is back writing for Hernando Sun and continues to publish photography and nature writing on her blog- FloridaNature.Net. Alice is married to Donald Herden Jr and resides in Weeki Wachee, Florida, with their two dogs, Bree and Willow.
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