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Morgan Sowell is a Stratford Eagle through and through.

A senior now, Sowell began attending the academy when he was three years old.

"By this time, I've spent more time here than I have at my actual house," said Sowell.

Stratford is Morgan's other home. He says the time spent there motivates him to represent it well.

"After a while you start to love it here. You love the coaches, the guys.That's why you do it."

Head coach Mark Farriba says Sowell's love for the team is evident in the way he prepares.

"He plays hard. He plays with a lot of intensity, but he enjoys the game," said Farriba.

Sowell is a stalwart for the Eagles' defense. He's the team's third-leading tackler. But his days on the pitch precede his work on the gridiron.

Soccer was Morgan's main sport, until high school.

"I actually never played football with pads on until my freshman year."

Morgan caught on quickly. He starts at safety for the Eagles. Not only that - Coach Farriba says he is a natural leader by example.

"He's gonna help other guys. He's gonna serve other guys."

The senior's football aptitude is no surprise, considering his history in the classroom. As long as he's been at Stratford, Morgan's class grades have never dipped below an A.

"He just makes every effort to be on top of his game, whether he's in the classroom, or whether he's out there on the field," said Farriba.

When a test grade landed short of his parents' standards last year... Morgan got a wake-up call... from his mom.

"'We're not going to let you play football if this continues.' They've definitely made me realize what's important sometimes, when I lose sight of that."

He could pursue a soccer scholarship to attend college. He might just stick to academics. Whatever happens, Morgan is ambitious about his major.

"Potentially biomedical engineering. I found some interest there. [I'm] trying to keep my options open," said Sowell.

Until then, he's got his eyes on a couple of prizes.

"Get to college for school, and win a state championship for football."

Follow 13WMAZ's Wes Blankenship on twitter: @Wes_nship

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