Gordo receives $5K for 7-on-7 championship
Tue. June 17, 2014 at 11:41 p.m. | By Andrew Carroll
Gordo head coach Ryan Lolley and his players earned $5,000 for winning a 7-on-7 competition at Sulligent. (Photo by Staff File Photo | Michelle Lepianka Carter)
Coach Ryan Lolley wanted his Gordo High School football players to get better, and in the process the program got richer.
Lolley and 20 players traveled to Sulligent last week to participate in Rashad Johnson’s Walk-On to Champions Football Camp. Gordo won four times in the 7-on-7 competition and received a $5,000 donation from Johnson.
A Sulligent graduate, Johnson was a walk-on player at Alabama, where he became an All-SEC safety. Johnson, a two-time captain for the Crimson Tide, was selected in the third round of the 2009 NFL draft. He has spent the last five seasons with the Arizona Cardinals.
“I tip my hat to Rashad for the way he embraced our kids and interacted with all the schools and all the kids,” Lolley said. “It was just amazing. He’s a very humble guy, and he’s a role model that you want your kids around. I think our kids are better for just the small time that we had around him. I think it’s just an outstanding thing.
“At lot of times in the news we always see bad things that happen with people, but in this case it’s something that’s great. He’s taking out of his time in this offseason to give back to his community along with the surrounding communities of West Alabama. I can’t say enough good things about Rashad.”
Johnson established the Walk-On to Champions Foundation to provide support for youngsters to chase their dreams. According to the foundation’s mission statement, Johnson’s career demonstrates “that the road to being a champion can begin anywhere.”
Gordo will start the new season with a new quarterback because Lane Moss graduated. Koy Chapman, who will be a sophomore, is the top candidate to replace Moss. Chapman was a starting safety as a freshman in 2013.
“We’ve been working all summer on getting better in the pass game and playing better pass defense,” Lolley said. “We use the 7-on-7 play dates to prepare for the real season.”
Lolley said Chapman made a Facebook connection with Johnson, and that’s how the Greenwave got invited.
“We knew that Rashad donates $5,000 to the team that wins the 7-on-7 championship,” Lolley said. “We knew that was at stake, and being a small school we always need money.
“Koy Facebooked Rashad and got us invited. After we got there, the rest was history, so to speak. We won every game we played. Hats off to (Chapman) because it was good for our program. It was a really well-organized 7-on-7, and several NFL players were out there walking around.”
Lolley said an NFL player was assigned to accompany each team, and the Gordo players had the chance to interact with Jerraud Powers, a former Auburn defensive back. Powers played for the Indianapolis Colts in 2009-2012 and for Arizona last season.
The contests consisted of two 15-minute halves. Gordo posted victories over Sulligent and Lynn and defeated Hamilton twice.
“It really was a team effort,” Lolley said. “It wasn’t just one guy. It was people all over the field just making plays for our team.”
Lolley said the $5,000 will be spent to benefit the players.
“We try to take care of their bodies and put them in the nicest equipment we can, and that’s what we’ll continue to do,” he said. “We do all we can do now to make sure that our players have the best stuff that’s available. Getting a $5,000 prize like that does nothing but help our program.”
Reach Andrew Carroll at email@example.com or at 205-722-0223.