CHESAPEAKE, Va. - Last season, as an all-state junior running back for Ocean Lakes High School in Virginia Beach, Kai Hodge showed-off his ability and agility. Earlier this month, Hodge made another football move.
"The opportunity to come here is amazing," Hodge told News 3 Sports Director Adam Winkler Wednesday evening. "It's a fresh start, a clean slate."
As a result of the Virginia High School League's decision to postpone football until the spring, Hodge has transferred to Atlantic Shores Christian - a private school in Chesapeake. Three other football players from Virginia Beach City Public Schools: Damien Mazel, Carlos Smith and Kaden Beatty have done the same.
Not only is Atlantic Shores doing full-time in-person learning, but head football coach Wayne Lance is hopeful his Seahawks will play a fall football season. This, despite the Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association not sanctioning any championships due to COVID-19.
"We've left the door open for the opportunity," Coach Lance admitted. "We'll see what other schools are available as well - not only within the conference, but outside."
"We are blessed at Atlantic Shores Christian School to have the ability to open with in-person classes on September 8th, Head of School Edward L. Brunot said in a statement provided to News 3. "The team has worked hard at putting together a health mitigation plan, policies and procedures, and training for our staff and students to ensure we are all doing our part to provide a safe environment for our students return."
What's more: Kai, along with fellow transfers Damien, Carlos and Kaden, have reclassified. They've dropped down a year in school, in hopes to assist both academically and athletically.
"Getting another year to play football and bring up my grades, that's huge," Hodge said. "Being able to do it all over again: having another junior year and being able to have a senior year, that will really help everything."
"Our mission statement is: With the Word of God as our foundation, ASCS will partner with the home and church in order to lead all students into higher levels of excellence spiritually, academically, physically and emotionally so that they can impact their world for Christ," Brunot added. "Specifically for our fall sports teams, we are working hard under the current guidelines to provide a path to a season."
"The guys who show up here are the guys I'm going to coach," Lance added. "I think any coach would tell you: just having the opportunity to impact kids lives, it really can't be about us as coaches."
It was about the chance to play for Kai Hodge and his fellow transfers. Some football moves are made on the field, while others are made to return to the field.