Seeing Grace now and then…NFL alumnus meets GPA student

Seventh Grader Jake Ratcliff plays quarterback for GPA. Here he plays a game of pick-up behind the bleachers at the varsity state game.

Seventh Grader Jake Ratcliff plays quarterback for GPA. Here he plays a game of pick-up behind the bleachers at the varsity state game.

From pre-school to high school, many people will play a sport at some point during their life. For many, sports are a recreational activity, but for others, it’s a passion.

Seventh Grader Jake Ratcliff is one of these people whose sport is far more than just a hobby.

Ratcliff has been playing football since the first grade.
He is now the quarterback for our junior high team and plans on playing in high school, and in college!

Ratcliff’s dreams do not end there.

He hopes to one day play in the NFL .

Some believe his goals are ambitious to say the least, but surely not impossible. In fact, former Grace Prep students Justin Forsette (2004) and Jacob Flores (2012) are now playing in the NFL.
He got to meet Flores when he visited here in October. He asked him questions and took a photo with him, grinning ear to ear.

Jake likes the Green Bay Packers, but he hopes to play for another team some day.

“My dream team to play for is the Carolina Panthers,” said Ratcliff with a smile. “I just like them.”

Maybe young Ratcliff’s dreams are not as farfetched as some may believe.
He has already shown how dedicated he is to accomplishing his goals by putting in an immense amount of time and work into it.

“I practice 6 hours a week here, and on weekends, I throw the football with my dad to practice at home,” said Ratcliff. “I play basketball, track and other sports to keep in shape all year long. Summer is running, swimming for cardio, I play every sport. I am trying to put in the effort in every class, and I feel like I’m doing that.”

Regardless of how dedicated an athlete is, if they don’t have a love for the game then their efforts are all in vain. Thankfully that’s not something that Jake struggles with.

“I just love the pressure of it; every play, I love getting the ball at QB and making good passes and running it,”
said Ratcliff. “It’s a great game, I love it.”

Football is not only something Ratcliff loves, it’s also something he feels called to do.

“I feel like God has called me to do this because I’ve always loved it; ever since I picked up a ball when I was two.”

Focusing on his academics is something his parents have instilled in him.

“My parents are always saying you’ve got to get a good grade on that test, and their motto is 90 and above.”

His family also teaches him to keep focused on what is important.
My faith helps me stay on track, staying humble…my parents talk to me about that, and I compliment other people and team mates,” said Ratcliff.

“My main goal is being humble.”

Only time will tell whether or not Jake will play football professionally, but one thing is for sure, football is a large part of his life.

Ratcliff also plays with a team called the Fort Worth Panthers.
It may not be the NFL yet, but he is on his way.

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