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'Lift For Life' is the little known charter school flying high in football playoffs

Lift For Life Academy focuses more on academics than football.

ST. LOUIS — One local team making history is Lift For Life Academy. They just won just their second playoff game ever last week, and in impressive fashion, defeating Cuba by 84 points. Not bad for a charter school who doesn't even have their own football field.

“Our budgets are significantly lower for our sports. Our coaching stipends are significantly lower because that money is better served serving the needs of our academics," said Joe Bevis, the Hawks' head coach.

The school is located on Broadway in Soulard. They sometimes practice at nearby parks, avoiding dog droppings and running in destroyed grass that is mostly mud. Some days they travel to East St. Louis to practice at the Jackie Joyner Kersee Foundation's facility.

“There’s really no good place to practice," said Bevis, who turned the school's basement into a makeshift locker room.

“What we have very much influences what we do, but we’ve made great use of what we have," he said.

If the Hawks win this week against Principia it will be the school's first trip to the district finals in school history.

“I like to prove people wrong," said Malik Knox, a junior guard.

“They ask me, ‘what school do you go to?’ I say, ‘Lift For Life.’ They’re like, ‘Who?'" said Knox.

Even at 9-1 going into their second-round playoff game on Saturday, the Hawks still have a lot to prove.

The team is confident yet humble.

“I feel like this season is gonna help get our name out there and help get us on the map," said Knox.

Bevis obviously feels his team, who's more than doubled their school record for season wins this year, is up to this week's challenge.

“We’ve got a lot of guys that are just really selfless," said Bevis.

“Right now we have almost 3,500 yards in rushing in our offense. That tells you something about us and it’s truly that we’re a team," he said.

The Hawks play at Principia at 1 p.m. Saturday.