Grace Brethren High, affiliated with the Simi Valley, CA, Grace Brethren Church (John McIntosh, pastor) has clinched the title in its football division with a 13-1-0 season. First-year coach Terry Gourley was named Coach of the Year and was featured this week on local television following Monday Night Football.
This was Grace Brethren’s first 11-man title, although the school won an 8-man championship in 1999, finished as the Division XIII runner-up in 2002 and was a Division XIII semifinalist last year.
Grace Brethren’s record-setting tailback, Chad Kackert, completed one of the best individual seasons in Ventura County history, rushing for 3,437 yards and 56 touchdowns (tied for sixth all-time nationally) as well as intercepting eight passes. Kackert’s 131 career TDs and 804 points rank in the top 10 nationally, according to the national High School Sports Record Book.
Kackert, a 5-foot-8, 177-pound senior, carries no regrets about playing football at Grace Brethren, a small school which enrolls fewer than 190 students. “God has taken me here for a reason,” he says. “I wouldn’t do anything different.”
His coach, Terry Gourley, says Kackert got the opportunity to play running back as a sophomore only because he was at a small school.
“At any bigger school, he would have been way too small to play running back,” said Gourley. “Here, he got a chance to play fairly early, and he’s a much more polished player with the experience.”