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Smoking for Jesus sports department shifts leagues

The Smoking for Jesus Minstry School’s athletics department has changed high school leagues.

The private school moved to the Texas Association of Independent Athletic Organizations, which happened after the basketball season ended. The department was previously a member of the Texas Christian Athletic League where the Eagles had tremendous success. The football team reached the league’s six-man state championship game in 2019, 2020 and 2021 and won back-to-back titles in 2020 and 2021. The basketball team won the state title of the 2021-22 season.

But success wasn’t enough to keep the Eagles in TCAL, athletics director and head football coach Charles Frazier, Sr. said. The biggest reason for the move? Frazier said bylaws prohibit TCAL members from playing members of the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools. That agreement was made by officials of both leagues, he added.

“We automatically lost some good games,” he said. “We couldn’t play more (or better) competition.”

One example of that was being unable to face Faith Academy of Marble Falls, which would have been an incredible contest for both schools. After all, both teams played for state titles in 2021. The Flames lost to Waco Live Oak Classical 46-41 in the TAPPS Class 2A Division II state championship.

And both schools knew the 2021 season was going to be extraordinary long before teams kicked off in August.

“We weren’t allowed to,” Frazier said as to why the squads didn’t play. “The kids know each other; the teams wanted to play each other.”

Soon after changing leagues, Frazier spoke to Faith head coach Stephen Shipley about scheduling a game. The Eagles and Flames will meet Friday, Sept. 9, at Britton Field on the Faith campus, 3151 RR 1431 East in Marble Falls.

“The kids love it, it’s the biggest game,” Frazier said.

As for success in Texas Association of Independent Athletic Organizations, Smoking for Jesus spent the track and field season competing as a member. Frazier’s sons, Charles Jr. and Jonathan Frazier each competed in two events at the state meet and scored high enough to finish as the runner-up in the team standings.

The Eagles are looking forward to new challenges. Frazier noted his teams didn’t just win while competing in the Texas Christian Athletic League.

“We dominated,” he said. “We mercy-ruled every (football) opponent. It was time for a change. We went to state three times and won it all twice. I’m competitive, and we are going to compete. (Mercy-ruling opponents) doesn’t help me or our team at all. I need more competition. There was nothing else we can in TCAL.”

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