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Panthers' Thomas Davis donates $15K for high school state championship rings

Carolina Panthers defensive linebacker Thomas Davis has made a huge donation to help the Harding University High School football team get its players and coaches championship rings.

>> Read more trending news

Davis confirmed he donated $15,000 to the team in a tweet to WSOC-TV anchor John Paul.

The football team finished its 14-1 season with a 30-22 win over Scotland County in the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 4A State Championship game in Winston-Salem. It’s the first state championship for the team since 1953.

Head football coach Sam Greiner was on the radio Friday morning when Davis called in and said he would help. The football program was trying to figure out ways to purchase rings for its players who couldn't afford them.

The rings cost about $400 apiece, so the school was trying to raise about $20,000. A GoFundMe page was set up to help the team buy rings, which had raised nearly $7,000 by Friday morning.

When Greiner accepted the head coach position two years ago, the football program was one of the worst in the state -- winning just one game in both 2014 and 2015. The players didn't have uniforms until the coach’s church bought them. They still practice on a beat-up baseball field and have to dress behind the stands.

"If someone wrote a movie script about everything that's happened, they would think it's a fairy tale,” Greiner said. “They wouldn't think it's real life.”

WSOC-TV asked what expenses Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools cover and was told it provides for game officials, security and coaching stipends.

Everything else is up to the school, families or a booster club.

Harding doesn't have a booster club, and a majority of the students’ families don't have the money.

"We have kids on our rosters that don't really have homes,” Greiner said. “They really don't know what they're going to eat (from) day to day.”

Greiner and his church created a family before building a state championship-caliber team. The church provides meals before games and Greiner let his quarterback, Braheam Murphy, who was homeless, live with him.

"I have two daughters because I think the good Lord knew I had enough sons, coaching football," Greiner said.

Teen shot in head is back to playing basketball after more than a year in recovery

Last year, a Chicago Public Schools honor student was shot in the head and has since made an unbelievable comeback Tuesday night. Damari Hendrix is back on the basketball court this week for the first time since a random shooting nearly took his life.

>> Read more trending news

According to WGN, Hendrix had to go through surgery three times and spent four days in a medically induced coma. He also was forced to learn to walk and talk again. But now he’s running, and his coach says he’s also redefining what’s possible.

>> On Rare.us: There’s a sad statistic about shooting deaths, influenced by Chicago

“Watching them practice, it’s impossible to believe that not long ago, one of these young men lay dying from a gunshot wound to the head,” Brian Rose, Hendrix’s coach, said. Last Labor Day weekend in a park near his home, Hendrix came close to his life ending.

“We just heard ‘shooter,’ and everybody got up running and stuff and I didn’t know I was shot until later on, I was running, my body started shutting down and stuff. I couldn’t see, walk, talk, run no more,” he said.

>> On Rare.us: Facebook Live video catches a fatal Chicago shooting that ended a toddler’s life

Hendrix came back on the court with his teammates at Foreman High School for the first time in 14 months – and all he can do is grin. Hendrix is still working on some fine motor skills but you wouldn’t know by watching him practice – dunking a couple of times.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news

“I get a second chance at life. I thought I wasn’t going to make it,” he said. “Up. I only want to go up, get better and better every day.”

Homecoming queen kicks game-winning field goal

It was a great week for a Texas high school student. She was named homecoming queen last week, and on Friday she kicked five extra points and the game-winning field goal for her football team.

>> Read more trending news

Claire Jeffress was the clutch kicker for Dawson High School on Friday, converting a 30-yard field goal with 1:08 to play to snap a tie and give the Eagles a 38-35 victory against Pearland.

“Homecoming queen knocks it through, Dawson wins,” Dawson head coach Eric Wells told the Houston Chronicle. “You have to love that.”

Wells said Dawson “doesn’t get rattled” during games. 

“There wasn’t even a question that she was going to kick it,” he said.

Besides, it wasn’t even Jeffress’ first game-winning kick. She made a go-ahead extra point on Oct. 5 to give Dawson a 14-13 victory against George Ranch.

Jeffress has been playing football since she was a seventh-grader. She told TMC News in January that she felt she needed to prove herself to play on the boys squad.

“I didn't want to make the team because I was a girl -- I didn't want it to be some special factor," she told TMC News. “I wanted to make it because I deserved to be on the team. They understood that.”

On the night she was crowned homecoming queen -- her homecoming dress was adorned with a football -- Jeffress was 6-for-6 on extra points as Dawson defeated Brazoswood 51-16. 

So kicking a game-winner on Friday was not a pressure situation, she said.

“I just wanted to do what I've always done and not think of it as any big deal,” Jeffress told the Chronicle. “My team had faith in me, and they were going to block for me, and the snap and the hold were going to be good, so I just had to do my job.”

WATCH: High school football team stands with police, veterans during national anthem

When the football team for Mascoutah High School in Illinois marched onto the field Friday night for their homecoming game with Triad High School, they had company: The team walked hand-in-hand with law enforcement officers, firefighters and veterans.

>> Click here to watch

>> Texas high school football players kicked off team for protesting during national anthem

Athletic Director Scott Battas came up with the idea but let the team’s captains make the final choice, the Belleville News-Democrat reports.

>> On Rare.us: This NFL legend thinks the league needs to install a rule to ban kneeling during national anthem

Senior Darius Cooley said the decision was unrelated to the protests in the NFL, explaining, “In high school, we play for each other. It’s not about the individuals or whose opinion is bigger. We all respect each other and recognize that everyone comes from a different perspective and have different opinions.”

>> Read more trending news

Coach Josh Lee echoed the sentiment, saying, “That’s not some huge political stand, and we’re not getting into people’s point of view. ... They just want to shed a positive light on people who do positive things in our community.”

>> See a photo here

>> Georgia high school football team runs onto field carrying American flags

Unfortunately for Mascoutah, their decision to bring the boys in blue onto the gridiron didn’t win them any favors with the gods of football; they ended up falling to Triad by a score of 24-7.

>> Watch another clip here

High school football player ejected after body-slamming opponent

A high school football player was ejected Friday night after he body-slammed a player from the opposing team to the ground.

A video clip that captured the wrestling move was posted on Twitter.

>> Read more trending news

The game was between Gibbs High School and Sevier County. After a play, a player from Sevier County picked up a Gibbs player and body-slammed him to the ground.

The player who ended up on the ground was not injured, the Knoxville News-Sentinel reported.

The player who committed the infraction was ejected and by rule, will have to sit out the next game.

Sevier County's coach told the Knoxville News-Sentinel that his player lost his composure, and that the game had been physical on both sides.

Gibbs came away with the victory, beating Sevier County 42-24

Mole crickets prompt officials to move Florida high school football game

A bug problem has ruined the football field at a Florida high school, prompting this week’s game to be played elsewhere.

Friday's game at Satellite High School in Brevard County against Eau Gallie High School was moved to Melbourne High School.

Officials said the problems were caused by mole crickets, a common turf grass pest.

The school district said it saw signs of the mole crickets in the spring and they did a preventative treatment.

Over the summer, the school installed new track and sprinklers were shut off.

>> Read more trending news

Parents in the Touchdown Club, a booster group for the football team, said they expressed concerns about doing that so close to football season.

They said they saw brown spots on the field last month. A turf expert from a golf course came out to look at it and said it's the worst case of mole crickets he had ever seen, parents said.

“My heart breaks, and I feel bad for the senior football players. (They) played in this program for four years and potentially might not have a home game,” said parent Bert Gamin.

The district said by that point, there were adult mole crickets that are very hard to get rid of and more treatments failed. The non-native insects tunnel underground and eat the roots and shoots of the grass. The district said the field was too dangerous for a game, so the game had to be moved. The district has been rolling out new dirt so they can, at some point, try to grow new grass.

Next week, there is another home game. The plan is to play on an all-dirt field, district officials said.

Take a look at this $72M high school football stadium in Katy, Texas

A new $72 million high school football stadium is ready for kickoff this season in Katy, Texas.

>> Watch the news report here

The 12,000-seat Legacy Stadium is the most expensive high school football stadium ever built and will be shared by eight local high schools. It boasts a massive video screen, huge locker rooms, restrooms and concession stands.

>> Read more trending news

The stadium was voted on and paid for by taxpayers in the area, according to NBC News.

“It’s something that this community wanted,” Katy ISD superintendent Lance Hindt told KTRK. “I don’t think the cost was anything that they really looked into.”

The stadium’s first game is slated for Aug. 31.

– Rare.us contributed to this report.

High school football star practicing with ankle monitor, booted from practice

A South Florida high school student, who is facing a felony charge, will not be allowed to take part in spring football practice while wearing an ankle monitor after school officials read a newspaper story about it online.

A judge’s order had allowed Shelley Singletary to participate in spring practices, as well as attend classes at Boca Raton High School, and the 18-year-old apparently was set to practice Monday in the team’s first season practice.

>> Read more trending news

But hours after a story on Singletary was published, Boca Raton High principal Susie King informed the school’s football staff that Singletary could not take part in any team functions until his criminal court case is resolved.

School officials apparently were not aware that Singletary had been cleared to practice until they read the story by the Palm Beach Post.

>> Related: Father of NFL hopeful killed in south Florida

Singletary, 18, is accused of a robbery in January during which he allegedly forcibly removed an 11-year-old’s Air Jordan sneakers and tried to steal his bicycle.

Judge Samantha Schosberg Feuer modified the terms of Singletary’s house arrest on March 16 allowing him to practice, but only if he wears an ankle monitor.

“The student has been cleared by a judge to participate in activities,” according to a statement released by the Palm Beach County School District. “However, he has not been cleared by Boca Raton Community High School to practice or be part of the school’s football team. At this time, he is in no way affiliated with the team or the spring season.”

Singletary, who will be a junior in the next school year, will be allowed to continue attending classes.

>> Got a question about the news? See our explainers here

Singletary, a 5-foot-10, 170-pound running back and defensive back, is ranked by MaxPreps, a college football recruiting website, as the state’s No. 193 prospect.

The University of Kentucky has reportedly offered Singletary a football scholarship for 2018, according to 24/7 Sports, but NCAA rules prohibit schools from publicly discussing recruits until they sign letters of intent.

Singletary could not be reached for comment.

Court records show that his next court appearance is scheduled for June 19.

Baseball coach hits home run with social media plea for equipment

A Virginia high school baseball team in desperate need of equipment finally got the help they needed.

John Marshall High School coach Brent Butler told local TV station WTVR that his team needed essential equipment, like gloves, cleats and bats. 

>> Read more trending news

He said he’s seen his team make big strides in recent weeks, but now they need equipment.

The committed coach got so desperate he said that he took to Facebook to ask the community for donations.

“It’s been really beneficial so far,” said Butler because donations are starting to trickle in.

WTVR stepped up to the plate, too, and presented the coach with a gift of $500.

“We know you have gotten some things and that helps, but we wanted to help as well,” WTVR reporter Lane Casadonte said. 

Butler said he was caught off guard and surprised by the gift.

“This is going to be really beneficial… I thought you guys were here for the weather!” Butler joked.

 

Florida prep football team gives signed helmet to No. 1 fan

Members of a Florida high school football team surprised their No. 1 fan with a Christmas gift.

Andrew Hayne is a special needs student at Wiregrass Ranch High School in Wesley Chapel. The 18-year-old has been friends with Bulls quarterback Chris Faddoul since middle school, BayNews9 reported. Faddoul would let Hayne wear his No. 14 jersey on Fridays before Wesley Chapel games, and after the Bulls’ completed a 7-3 season, Faddoul wanted to do something special for his friend.

The quarterback got his teammates to sign a Wiregrass Ranch helmet, and he gave it to Hayne just before the Christmas break.

"He never had the chance to go out on the actual field and put on a actual helmet or pads or anything," Faddoul told BayNews9.

>> Read more trending stories

The helmet had the inscription “To our No. 1 fan,” and even included the name “Fadoodle,” which is what Hayne calls the senior quarterback, who threw for 892 yards and nine touchdowns during the 2016 season.

Hayne responded with a hug for Faddoul, who said “We love you, buddy, Merry Christmas.” Hayne then tried on the helmet and immediately went into a three-point stance.

“Feels good, I feel tough,” Hayne says in the video.

<script>(function(d, s, id) {  var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];  if (d.getElementById(id)) return;  js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id;  js.src = "//connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&amp;version=v2.8";  fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));</script> Andrew receives a great Christmas presentThis is wonderful. Wiregrass Ranch student Chris Faddoul and the Bulls football team gave their number one fan, Andrew, the Christmas present of a lifetime. They gave him an autographed football helmet from the team. Merry Christmas!Posted by Pasco County Schools on Friday, December 23, 2016

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