A football player at Grace Brethren High School, a ministry of the Grace Brethren Church in Simi Valley, Calif. (Jordan Bakker, senior pastor), is featured today’s Riverhead, N.Y., Local News. Zikel Reddick formerly played football at the Riverhead high school and transferred to Grace Brethren at the suggestion of a local coach. A portion of the story appears below. Click here to read the complete article.
With the help of father-figure coach, former Blue Wave Zikel Reddick turns things around in California
After his sophomore season, running back Zikel Reddick was set to be the next big thing to come out of Riverhead.
Speed, agility, vision, power — Reddick had it all.
He envisioned himself playing in college, continuing the sport that he was just meant to play. But there was something holding him back: his grades. Before he entered one of his classes later that year, his guidance counselor pulled him over to the side and brought him into her office.
“She said, ‘Hey, you need this, that and this if you really want to play college football’ and I’m looking at my classes like ‘OK, so I didn’t know I was doing that terrible.’”
His GPA was well below 2.0. Without the grades to back up his play, his chances of playing at the next level were slipping away. That’s when his mom reached out to voluntary assistant Riverhead football coach Jeff Falisi. He’s known and coached Reddick since he was a nine-year-old on the PAL Giants.
“Zikel and I have a father-and-son relationship and I get along very well with his whole family,” Falisi said. “He doesn’t have a father in his life. His father was killed when Zikel was at a very young age. I would do anything for him just like I would do everything for any of my kids. His mom came to me and said Zikel needed a boost in life.”
The two of them sat down and created a game plan to get him the best opportunity to get into a college through athletics. He wasn’t going to get the looks he needed in Riverhead and the amount of distractions interfering with his success outweighed any potential to stay.
“So I reached out to some family in California,” Falisi said. “A family member of mine played at a very high level in the SEC and now deals with professional athletes. He helped us determine what needed to be done.”
Reddick’s highlight tape spoke for itself. High school coaches from all over southern California began to bite when presented with the tape. Now it was just a matter of choosing the right situation.
They decided on Grace Brethren, a college preparatory high school in Simi Valley, California. They helped his mom find a job and an apartment in the area so that she could be there for her son. Because he was enrolled in summer school at Riverhead, he wasn’t able to attend any practices and actually showed up the first week of the regular season.
Click here to read the complete article.