Tenn. school's surge in football participation has unintended consequence: equipment shortage

Tenn. school's surge in football participation has unintended consequence: equipment shortage

Outside The Box

Tenn. school's surge in football participation has unintended consequence: equipment shortage

A Tennessee school has experienced an unexpected surge in football participation just a year after forfeiting a playoff game because of its 1-9 record. As a result, the program is scrambling to solve a problem that was truly unexpected: A significant shortfall of equipment.

As reported by the Tri-State CBS and ABC affiliate WJHL, the Unaka football team has seen a significant surge after finishing the 2016 season with just eight varsity players, rising to a current roster of some 40 players. With more expected after school officially opens, the Unaka program doesn’t have enough football helmets for players to compete in.

“We have the great problem of having more players than we have helmets to put them in. We have currently four kids who are practicing, going through non-contact drills without having any helmets on,” Unaka head football coach O’Brien Bennett told WJHL.

While the program has undergone a number of fundraisers to raise the money needed to bring on more equipment, those efforts haven’t reached the threshold needed for the new helmets; the team has raised roughly $2,000 thus far. Still, Bennett and his staff are sure that the greater numbers and passion for the program will bring fans out and increase school spirit at Unaka.

“We have the great problem of having more players than we have helmets to put them in. We have currently four kids who are practicing, going through non-contact drills without having any helmets on,” Bennett told WJHL.

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