Smith Mountain Lake Christian Academy will add a football program to their athletics program starting in 2021. The head coach will be Kenis Maciel, who has a rich history when it comes to playing and coaching football.
He started playing when he was 5 at the rec league. At the high school level, Maciel played for William Byrd and was a four-year starter on the offensive and defensive line. He earned all-district honors his sophomore year and then earned all-state honors his junior and senior year.
From there he went to play college football at UVA-Wise, where he started all but one game on the offensive line. According to Maciel, he was named offensive most valuable player his junior and senior year.
He also was a four-year starter on the wrestling team in high school and was a two-year state finalist, winning the state championship his senior year.
After college, he then moved to coaching and did that until he became a father and taking care of multiple kids.
“That started to take up a lot of my time,” Maciel said.
His coaching resume involves coaching at William Byrd High School with the junior varsity and varsity football team, as well as the wrestling team. Maciel also coached the varsity softball team at William Fleming High School for a couple years.
Once he stepped away from coaching to raise his kids, Maciel actually tried to steer his kids, who attend SMLCA, away from football because he didn’t know if the school would ever have a program for their students to play. That never came to fruition. In fact, his kids embrace the game.
“The older they got, I guess it was just in their blood,” Maciel said with a little laugh. “It’s all they ever talked about.”
It wasn’t just his son, but lots of his classmates at SMLCA. They would always go out and play football during recess every day and talk about the game. He then decided to see if having a program could come to fruition by reaching out to a couple of coaches he knew to see if they would be interested in helping him get the football program rolling.
Soon after, a meeting was held with Maciel, Athletic Director Mike Greathouse, Principal Lincoln Bryan, and Pastor Troy Keaton. They all said that they wanted to have a football team and they felt now was the time to do it. They asked Maciel if he would be interested in starting it, and the rest is history.
Besides rec league, this will be Maciel’s first head coaching opportunity and knowing that he will be the very first head football coach at SMLCA also puts a big grin on his face.
“To be able to say that you were part of something new or you were the first at getting a program started, the opportunity to do that is just extremely exciting,” Maciel said, who noted he was excited to not only be a head coach but to get back into coaching as well.
Greathouse said they will step into the program slow by just starting at the middle school level, sixth through ninth grade, and play teams on the road for the next one or two years. From there, they will add a grade year every season until they reach the 12th grade. Greathouse also said that for the kids in elementary grade, they will work closely with Bedford Parks and Rec and Moneta Elementary to try and get the younger kids in their type of leagues.
“We’re going to try and make this work,” Greathouse said.
Maciel made sure to note that the program is more than just teaching kids football.
“We’re there to teach these kids to grow into better men and give them a Christ-like male example to follow,” he said. “We’re going to have a faith centered coaching staff … all of our coaches will have a relationship with Christ and have faith in the center of their lives.”
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