The Dallas Academy Varsity Football team was not even sure they would have a season this year. With Covid-19 numbers steadily rising and surging throughout the summer the outlook of being able to start football in August did not seem like a possibility. School officials took every precaution they could to try and prepare for the chance that school and sports would be able to open on schedule. As the summer waned on, the team received the news that Dallas County would allow schools to start practice on September 8th. While the other private schools in the league were able to start in early August, the Bulldogs were excited that they would at least be able to play this year.
While playing the games was important to the players, the life lessons they learn through athletics is the greater reward. At Dallas Academy, the athletic program teaches their players to win with class and lose with dignity. They learn how to overcome adversity and never give up no matter what the odds are. They are taught how to handle success and the traps that success can bring. The athletic program focuses on a student-centered coaching philosophy which gives the players team-based goals over individual goals that helps to instill teamwork and selflessness to achieve a goal. The players learn how to be leaders and develop important social skills. With the no-cut policy that the team implores, every student in the school is given the opportunity to learn these valuable lessons.
As September 8th arrived, the football team gathered to try and prepare for the upcoming season. After only three weeks of practice, the team prepared for their first game against undefeated Harvest Christian from Lantana, a team that already played three games. The Bulldogs fought hard in the back-and–forth game but fell short 56-42. The following week found the Bulldogs pitted against another undefeated opponent in perennial state power, Wylie Prep. The team faced some early adversity and were never able to find their footing falling 52-0 and staring at an 0-2 record for the season. The team was now in a position where their once hopeful season was in danger of ending in another missed playoff appearance. In their third game, the Bulldogs found their focus and their footing dominating both sides of the ball for a 73-26 win over Decatur Victory Christian to put themselves in position to clinch a playoff berth with another victory. In their next game, the Bulldogs got off to a hot start and then were able to overcome sloppy play in the second half to pull out a 58-31 victory over Mesquite Founders Classical. The victory evened their record at 2-2 and clinched their first playoff berth in four seasons.
The Bulldogs had one more regular season game to try and end the season with a winning record for the first time in five seasons. Their opponent for this big homecoming game was Arlington St. Paul’s, a school that had won multiple state champions over the previous five seasons. After a score on their first drive, the Bulldogs gave up the lead to St. Paul’s 8-6 early in the first. The team was not to be denied this final victory as they stepped up their play on offense, led by a season high 454 yards rushing, and on defense, shutting out St. Paul’s in the second half and forcing 3 turnovers, leading to the big 61-14 victory and a winning season.
The football team’s journey for the year is not over yet. With the victory, the Dallas Academy Bulldog Football team clinched a first-round bye and a trip to the state semifinals. Their upcoming opponent is the undefeated defending state champs from Westlake Academy. While the Bulldogs know they have a formidable opponent, they believe the lessons they have learned about hard-work, dedication, and selflessness will place them in the best chance to be successful in the game and in life.