Leaving Safford I met Joan and Audra in Casa Grande. We were gathering together to see Ryan Cunningham play football. We remember Ryan and Audra playing guns around our houses in Zambia. No more guns as we know what every parent knows: they grow up fast. Ryan’s team was playing Yuma. Casa Grande has not beaten them in some 26 attempts. We arrived early and watched the social drama of High School football unfold. One standout was the Casa Grande band. They carried themselves with poise as they sat down before the game. There was a stirring rendition of the national anthem to a Marine color guard with proper respect shown by young and old. And the football game….
Ryan has grown into a 250 lb lineman playing both offense and defense. When I had preached here 3 weeks ago we all went out and played some basketball after the last night of the revival. He is not only big but quite agile with an excellent outside shot. I say this to illustrate his level of development as a junior lineman on 5A team. Tom and Marjean are the obvious proud parents as Ryan graciously acknowledges the family in the stands. The game plan was simple: Casa Grande was to pound away with a running game. They did just that as their Kenyan born running back gained over 260 yards in the 21 – 10 Casa Grande victory. The tempo of the game was established on the second play from scrimage. The Yuma quarterback faded for a pass. Ryan had let us know that they had trained for this very play. When the offensive line let Ryan through without blocking him he knew it was a screen play. One player chased the quarterback. His screen pass was tipped and fell into Ryan’s hands and he ran it into the end zone for a 46 yard touchdown being escorted in by a squadron of linemen celebrating the lineman’s dream.