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Senior football players honored at special dinner with Cie Grant

| December 5, 2016
Ashton Jarvis shakes Cie Grant’s hand during a recognition dinner held Dec. 4 at the Coshocton County Career Center for senior football players from all three county high schools. Josie Sellers | Beacon

Ashton Jarvis shakes Cie Grant’s hand during a recognition dinner held Dec. 4 at the Coshocton County Career Center for senior football players from all three county high schools. Josie Sellers | Beacon

COSHOCTON – About seven or eight years ago Pastor Rod Uhlig became the chaplain for the Ridgewood High School football team.

“This combined two of my greatest passions,” Uhlig said. “I love serving God and love football. This has been one of the greatest joys of my ministry.”

Ridgewood’s coach John Slusser said he wasn’t sure what to expect when Uhlig first started speaking to his team, but said it really caught on with the kids.

“They will tell you it’s one of the most special things we do,” Slusser said.”I’ve never made it mandatory, but I think in the eight years or so he’s been with us I’ve only had two kids miss his meetings.”

He also feels like Uhlig’s presence with the team created a different type of camaraderie and bond than they had before he started speaking with them.

“When it’s all said and done football is just a short amount of time,” Slusser said. “It doesn’t matter how much you win or lose. It’s what type of people we become.”

Uhlig wanted River View and Coshocton high school football players to have the same experience Ridgewood’s did and school administrators and coaches gladly welcomed area preachers to their teams. Uhlig was assisted at Ridgewood by Dan Eggan. Joel Mason and Nick Johnson were the chaplains for River View and Caleb Mason and Chad Olinger ministered at Coshocton.

This fall a Fellowship of Christian Athletes group also started meeting at River View High School and an FCA Coshocton Area dinner was held on Dec. 4 to recognize senior football players from all three county high schools.

The football chaplains worked together this year to present all three teams with the same lesson that concerned four principals of manhood: Reject passivity, accept responsibility, lead courageously, and expect the greater reward. The seniors at the dinner were presented with commemorative coins that had these principals printed on them.

“It’s something we hope you will keep forever,” Uhlig said.

One of the first people to congratulate the seniors after they received their coin was Cie Grant. Grant, a graduate of New Philadelphia High School, played football for The Ohio State University. He is well known for his final fourth down play in the 2003 Fiesta Bowl that helped OSU win the BCS National Championship. He also played briefly in the NFL with the New Orleans Saints.

“I’m truly honored to see all of you seniors here,” Grant said. “I’m proud of each and every one of you. To make it to this point in your life is a big deal.”

He also spoke to the seniors about taking responsibility for their action, not being passive about finding their purpose in life and fighting through adversity.

“I understand there were some different outcomes to your seasons, but there is a greater cause to everything you do. One day all of the hard work will make sense.”

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Category: High School, Multimedia, Photo Galleries, Sports

About the Author ()

I started my journalism career in 2002 with a daily newspaper chain. After various stops with them, I am happy to be back home! I graduated from Coshocton High School in 1998 and received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication in 2002 from Walsh University. I also earned several awards while working for daily papers, including being honored by Coshocton County’s veterans for the stories I wrote about them. I am honored and ready to once again shine a positive light on Coshocton County. I also am the proud mother of a little girl named Sophia!

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