Building on success: VCA athletics continue to grow

Published Saturday, December 29, 2018

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Showing Off the Hardware

SHOWING OFF THE HARDWARE – In the past five years, Victory Christian Academy teams have garnered several trophies. Athletic Director Joe Berry said the program continues to grow. Messenger photo by Richard Greene

After retiring as a coach at Decatur in 2007, Joe Berry wasn’t ready to hang up his whistle.

Berry took on the task of building an athletic department from the ground up at Victory Christian Academy. Five years and a long string of district and state titles later, Berry is proud of not only the Patriots’ success but the opportunities the program has opened up for VCA students.

“About 75 percent of the student body, just about everyone is involved in at least one activity,” Berry said. “We have a couple of girls we sponsor in rodeo.

“We want to make it available for whoever comes here to play the sport they want to play. We also want to be competitive at the state level and get every program capable to compete at the state level. We’ve done that with every program.”

VCA teams compete in the Texas Christian Athletic Fellowship (TCAF), which is a fast-growing organization. Berry said it has added 20 schools in the past year.

Along with opening up athletic opportunities for VCA students, the school’s team also accepts home school athletes. Berry explains that TCAF allows schools to fill out rosters with up to 25 percent of the team made up of home school students. The home school athletes must meet certain school-mandated requirements to join a team.

Berry said the students must fill out paper work, agree to the school’s Christian standards, attend church regularly and be involved in a youth group.

“Most are in home school co-ops,” Berry said.

The home school students have been especially helpful in filling out rosters in football and basketball, Berry explained.

Of all the programs in the last five years, the volleyball team has been the most successful. It has captured three straight state titles. The team was the host of the state TCAF tournament this past year.

“It has been a huge success,” Berry said about the state tournament.

The Patriots football team has been in the playoffs every season and reached the state semifinals in 2015 and 2016. In spite of its youth this season, VCA made the postseason.

“We played with a lot of freshmen and sophomores. We struggled early but got better,” Berry said. “Four of the teams we lost to played for a state championship. We’re excited about the next two to three years.”

Berry said the basketball teams continue to improve. VCA has enjoyed success in track and cross country over the years with several state medalists.

Along with Berry, veteran coach Eddie Fortenberry is on staff. The school also relies on several volunteer coaches with wide-ranging experience.

Berry expects all the programs to continue to grow as the school’s enrollment continues to increase. VCA’s long-term goal is to join the larger Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools as enrollment in the school grows.

But as the numbers increase, he doesn’t expect the programs to lose sight of its goals.

“We want to be competitive at the state level, but want to make sure everyone is included that wants to play,” he said.

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