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The physicality of the game is what brought Morgan Churchill to football.
From the first time he knew what the game was, Churchill was entranced with the rough nature of this new sport.
And it instantly became his favorite.
“I just always loved football since I was little,” Churchill said. “Being able to be that physical, being able to hit somebody, that just really stuck out to me as something that looked like a lot of fun.”
While the notion of contact was what drew Churchill to football, a perceived lack of physicality is what kept him away from basketball. At least it did for a while.
But when he finally went out for the team in seventh grade, a decision partly motivated by him “being left out” while all of his friends were away playing basketball, he became the team’s leading scorer and MVP in his first season.
According to Churchill, the key to his success was bringing his physical mindset from the gridiron to the hardwood.
“Being away from my friends is what first brought me out (for the basketball team),” Churchill said, “but once I started playing, I really liked it because I learned how to be physical in a basketball game. It just started being fun for me, too.”
Once Churchill got into high school, he became a four-year letterman in football while playing two years of varsity basketball.
Instead of being intimidated by the daunting task of juggling two sports, though, Churchill always focused on the benefits that one could have on the other.
“They both help each other out a lot, really,” Churchill said. “Football helps you be physical on the basketball court, and basketball, help you with your agility and your quickness on the football field.
Being a two-sport athlete also gave him the chance to realize his childhood vision of being a WC Commander twice over.
“If you grow up here, you’ve got to try as hard as you can so you can be a Washington County Commander,” Churchill said. “You want to fight to keep that Commander tradition going,”
On the football field, Churchill points to his toughness and quickness as “a big-bodied skill player” as his biggest strength.
For basketball, he thinks his biggest strength is, well, his strength.
“I’m not very tall, so it seems like I’m always guarding people taller than I am,” Churchill said, “but I feel like I’m stronger than most of the people that I play against, so I try to use that to my advantage.”
WC basketball Head Coach Russell Burkhead agrees.
“Morgan is just a dominating figure, a eally good-sized kid,” Burkhead said. “He may not be the tallest player out there, but he’ll go out and battle with anyone.”
With the end of Churchill’s WC basketball career coming closer each day, he said that what he’ll miss about it is “coming out every week and being able to entertain people.”
However, Churchill has had some preparation for this process, as he has already felt the sting of being done with one WC sport when the football season wrapped up last year.
“What I miss the most about football is being out there every Friday night with the lights on you,” Churchill said. “[Head Coach Eric Sagrecy] told us it would only take a few weeks of being out before we would start to miss it, and he was right. All of us miss it a lot.”
The conclusion of Churchill’s sports career at WC will soon be followed by the end of his academic career at WC.
And plans to attend college to play football (although the place has yet to be determined) will also put an end to his time, for a period at least, in Washington County, a place he calls “an all-around great community.”
“I never did believe it when people said that my time in high school would fly by, but it really does,” Churchill said. “It’s going to be hard leaving, but it’s just something I’ve got to do. I’m definitely going to miss all my friends, all my teachers. It’s going to be hard leaving.”
But wherever he goes, Burkhead knows that Churchill will be successful.
“Morgan’s got a really good personality, and all the kids get along with him,” Burkhead said. “He’s just an all-around good kid. Great things are ahead for Morgan Churchill.”