For the Missouri Military Academy, success on the football field, or any other athletic endeavor, isn't just measured in wins and losses.
Sports are a much more intregal part of the educational curriculum than the most learning institutions and every head coach is required to also be on-staff at the academy, as are almost all off the assistant coaches. The lessons learned while training for and during the course of competition are designed to help turn boys into men, and two perfect examples of that are Copeland Grahman and Pedro De Rocha.
For Grahman, the end result of all his hard work on and off the gridiron at MMA is that on Wednesday he signed his National Letter of Intent to play football starting this fall for Texas Weslyan University.
As for De Rocha, he's heading to play football as a walk on at Garden City Community College in Garden City, Kansas, a top-ranked National Junior College Athletic Association program.
"I felt very comfortable when I went there to visit. I met the coaches and the team and I think it will be the perfect fit for me," said De Rocha, who is originally from Sao Paolo, Brazil and whose Mother and Father, Cidinha and Cesarino, flew in for his announcement ceremony. "I'll be majoring in either business or architechture. I drove there. It was about eight hours. I met some teachers. Saw the locker room."
According to gobroncobusters.com, in 2017 Garden City went 8-4 overall, 5-2 Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference. Highlights included a four-game win streak that began on Oct. 21 with a 41-14 home win over Dodge City CC and ended Nov. 11 with a 69-0 victory against Air Force Prep.
"When I was looking for colleges online I happened to see Garden City and we started talking and it went from there. Because I'll be a walk-on I'm going to have to make the team, meaning I won't have a position and I'll be qualified as an athlete," De Rocha said. "I'm willing to play whatever position the coaches want me to. I think it will be challenging the first year, both on the field and in the classroom, but I'll be fine. I'm excited and happy to have found a college that I want to go to and I fit in."
Grahman actually has a rather unique opportunity at Texas Weslyan because it's football program, which is part of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics and competes in the Central States Football League, has only been competing since last year. That season the Rams finished 1-10 overall, 1-7 CSFL, and its lone victory came when Wayland Baptist was forced to forfeit what was originally a 54-24 Pioneers win over TWU.
"I'm excited. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. When I was e-mailing the admissions department about placement at Texas Weslyan and they found out I was interested in the football team I was forwarded to the offensive line coach. After enough conversations he finally offered me a scholarship," said Grahman. "Mt time at MMA prepared me for college football through organization and hard work. Focusing on one task. That has helped a lot."
Once Grahman arrives in Fort Worth, TX., the Dallas native plans on majoring in criminal justice. After graduation his plans are to become a marine and then parlay all of those experiences into a career in law enforcement.
"I believe I can get over whatever they throw at me. What lies ahead is well within me. I've been through worse," Grahman said. "My Dad was really happy to find out I got a scholarship to play football and my brothers are psyched and can't wait to see me play."