LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – High school football has begun, but for one Little Rock team there is a lot on the line.
This year is the last chance that the McClellan Lions will ever get to bring home a State Championship because their school is closing.
Players and coaches tell us that they want to end their run as Lions back at War Memorial for the State Championship.
The gear is game ready and so are the players inside the McClellan high school locker room.
“It’s just time to shine,” Jordan Harris a junior quarterback and outside linebacker said.
As the football team suits up for the first time this season, junior quarterback Jordan Harris knows that it’s the last year wearing his jersey.
“Everything great about being a lion.”
“You gotta be a humble beast.”
Their school is one of several being combined to make Little Rock’s new Southwest High, meaning their days of pep talks are numbered.
“We used to ‘go Lions’ and now it’s ‘go Griffs.”
Excitement loading the buses turns to a noticeable quiet on the road to War Memorial.
“It’s a little bittersweet moment,” say’s Maurice Moody, head coach.
Kickoff keeps Coach Moody on the sidelines, now in his team’s hands to try for another State Championship.
“We want to start our season here, end our season here and that’s the sweet part of it.”
In seven years building this program, he doesn’t measure success by just touchdowns.
“I think we’ve changed lives and that’s the most important thing. Getting an education that will last forever and the relationship with the coaches and the players you can’t downplay that.”
Win or lose there is one final score that matters.
Harris says that it’s “the history McClellan will forever be here.”
The Lion legacy, that can’t be fumbled.
“We just family.”
The new Southwest High will combine McClellan, JA fair, and some students from Hall.
There isn’t a set coaching staff, they will have to apply, but the coach tells us that’s all the more reason they’re trying to focus on doing their best this season.