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Riverside gets Panthers' game pants with grant

By Jim Fair, Editor
Published on Tuesday, March 11, 2014

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Jerseys like the ones displayed in the cubicle are among $50,000 of uniforms, game and practice, donated to 16 high schools in the Carolinas.

Carolina Panthers Photo

Jerseys like the ones displayed in the cubicle are among $50,000 of uniforms, game and practice, donated to 16 high schools in the Carolinas.



Enlarge photo

Riverside High School was awarded 130 pair of white pants that will be used as away uniforms this season.

Carolina Panthers Photo

Riverside High School was awarded 130 pair of white pants that will be used as away uniforms this season.

 

The Riverside Warriors are now the envy of nearly every high school football team in South Carolina.

Riverside will be wearing NFL-sanctioned Carolina Panthers white pants on the road next season, courtesy of the team founded by Spartanburg owner Jerry Richardson.

The white pants, requested by Riverside Head Football Coach Phil Smith, have all the markings of the Panthers and the NFL.  “Who knows, one of our wide receivers may be wearing Steve Smith’s (all-pro Carolina Panther) pants,” Smith said.  “I can only imagine being a player like one of these kids and wearing a Panthers uniform.”

Riverside is among 10 schools in South Carolina and six in North Carolina to win grants for the expertly maintained and excellent condition white and silver game day pants and black, blue and white practice jerseys. “The names and numbers on the jerseys are still there,” said Peter Vacho, Carolina Panthers Military & Football Outreach Manager.

The total value of the Carolina Panthers High School Uniform Grant was $50,000. The uniforms are all Rebok and mostly 2008-2011, Vacho said. High school leagues in the Carolinas partnered with the Panthers to promote the grants.

Riverside purchased new home uniforms last year. There was no money budgeted for away uniforms. “It puts a major strain on your budget to do that,” Smith said.

There were several packages to choose from when submitting grants. Smith asked and received 130 white game pants from the Panthers.

“Having the basic necessities such as practice gear can go a long way in helping school athletic departments make ends meet,” Vacho said.  “The Carolina Panthers are thrilled to provide this opportunity to schools in our region, especially when the need for resources is at a premium, but adequate funding may be a challenge.”

Betty Templeton, an administrative assistant/curriculum resource teacher, wrote the grant request. “I told Mr. Smith to please make sure I was writing in athletic terms. I am not use to that,” Templeton said. “This is a wonderful way for the NFL to support the kids. Our kids look up to NFL players.”

Templeton said Smith feigned disappointment during his routine visits to her office when she asked if he had received confirmation. “He said, ‘I am so sorry, I can’t keep a straight face.’ This is one of the biggest self-esteem boosts the football team has had.”

“She jumped out of her chair, she was so happy,” Smith said.

Riverside’s application was among 60. It almost didn’t make it. “The deadline to enter was Feb. 14 and those were the snow days when school was out,” Smith said. “We mailed it two days before.”

“To my knowledge this is the first time the Panthers have had a formal grant process to award uniforms to deserving high schools in the region,” said Vacho.  “In 2011 we did do a similar grant, but it was for all of our weight room equipment. We also annually work with partners/sponsors to help out high school and youth football teams with other equipment such as helmets, shoulder pads, field padding, sleds and the like.”

Schools receiving grants are:

South Carolina High Schools

Riverside

S.C. School for the Deaf and the Blind (Spartanburg)

C.A. Johnson (Columbia)

Chester

Crestwood (Sumter)

Hunter-Tyler-Kinard

North Charleston

North Central (Kershaw)

Ridgeview (Columbia)

St. John’s (Island)

North Carolina High Schools

Bertie (Windsor)

East Bladen (Elizabethtown)

Farmville Central

Goldsboro

North Moore (Robbins)

Reidsville

 

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