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Florida school shooting: Football coach shot, killed while protecting students hailed as hero

UPDATE, 5:19 a.m. EST Thursday: Aaron Feis, an assistant football coach and security guard at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, has died after being wounded in a deadly mass shooting Wednesday, the team tweeted early Thursday.

“It is with great sadness that our football family has learned about the death of Aaron Feis,” the team wrote. “He was our assistant football coach and security guard. He selflessly shielded students from the shooter when he was shot. He died a hero and he will forever be in our hearts and memories.”

>> See the tweet here

ORIGINAL STORY: An assistant football coach reportedly was shot while protecting students during a deadly mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

Aaron Feis is being celebrated as a hero, according to the Miami Herald, citing tributes to the coach and reports on social media.

>> MORE: Live updatesPhoto gallery | Who is Nikolas Cruz?

Seventeen were killed and many more were injured in Wednesday's shooting. A gunman, whom police identified as 19-year-old former student Nikolas De Jesus Cruz, opened fire on students in the afternoon.

When the shooting started, Feis – a school security guard, as well – reportedly stepped between the shooter and students, taking bullets in the act. He was reportedly hospitalized in critical condition.

Douglas football player Charlie Rothkopf tweeted that his coach “took [several] bullets covering other students at Douglas.”

The Miami Herald reported that Feis is a 1999 graduate of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

>> Read more trending news 

“He is a friend to all students that know him,” wrote Angelica Losada, who identified herself as a former student at the school. “Please, take a moment to send healing prayers for him.”

Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said “a football coach” had died in the shooting. It is not clear if Israel was referring to Feis.

Jerry Jones’ grandson rallies team to Texas state high school football title

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones celebrated another championship Friday night, but it wasn’t his NFL team that made him proud.

>> Read more trending news

It was his grandson, quarterback John Stephen Jones, who rallied Highland Park to a 53-49 victory against Manvel in the UIL Class 5A Division I finale at AT&T Stadium -- the home of the Cowboys. Jones’ heroics gave Highland Park back-to-back state titles, and he became the first quarterback to throw for more than 500 yards in a Texas state title game, ESPN reported.

The 5-foot-10, 180-pounder passed for 564 yards and four touchdowns, rallying Highland Park from a 10-point deficit with three minutes to play. Jones, who was 37-for-58, completed a 16-yard touchdown pass to Cade Saustad -- his 61st of the season -- with 34 seconds left. Jones also completed a 28-yard pass on fourth-and-15 to keep the drive alive, ESPN reported.

Highland Park (15-1), the winningest team in state history with 816 victories, won back-to-back state titles for the first time and its fifth overall, The Dallas Morning News reported.

The Scots also won titles in 1945 (shared with Waco), 1957, 2005 and 2016.

“We beat some great football teams to get here, and this was probably the best one tonight,” Highland Park coach Randy Allen told the Morning News. “John Stephen is a great competitor, and he kept telling everybody on the bench that we've just got to keep coming back.”

Highland Park trailed 49-39 with three minutes to play.

“It shows we have no quit. We'll never count ourselves out,” Jones told the Morning News. “It's really special.”

Highland Park had to survive a late scare, as Manvel’s Jalen Preston was wrestled down at the 1-yard line after a 30-yard reception as time ran out.

Jerry Jones congratulated Manvel coach Kirk Martin after the game.

“He just told me what a great job we did,” Martin told the Morning News. “One second and 1 yard short. That was the difference.”

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.

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.

College football recruiting? There’s a country song for that

College football national signing day is near, and that can only mean one thing: Drama.

So rather than try to figure out which experts to listen to, why not turn to those who know drama best: Country music singers.

Here are eight songs that describe college football recruiting perfectly:

“15,” Taylor Swift 

While many recruiting decisions used to be made during a prospect’s senior year, early commits have become more the rule than the exception over the past decade. 

Coaches have also begun handing out offers earlier and earlier in an effort to make the first impression on a future star. Because after all who can dispute that “when you’re 15 and somebody tells you they love you, you’ve gotta believe them”?

How Do You Like Me Now? Toby Keith 

This might be the most common story you hear about after signing day.

Everyone who gets passed over by their local school loves to come back and stick it to them when they get the chance — Remember Ryan Brewer, Ohio State fans? 

“Unanswered Prayers,” Garth Brooks 

But sometimes recruiting is as much about who you don’t sign as who you get.

One year’s can’t-miss prospect could be next year’s troublesome presence in the locker room -- or name on the police blotter -- so there are times fans will ultimately count their blessings in ways they don’t expect. 

(Garth honorable mentions: “Shameless,” “The Dance,” and, of course, “Friends In Low Places”)

Dancing Away with My Heart,” Lady Antebellum 

On the bright side, the players who don’t pan out (and don’t get the program in trouble with the law or the NCAA), have name recognition that will last forever. 

At least among hard-core fans and recruiting wonks, those players “will always be 18 — and beautiful. And dancing away with (their) heart(s).”

You Never Even Call Me By My Name,” David Allen Coe 

Our area is home to one well-known case of mistaken identity, but the story of Curtis Enis of Mississinawa Valley being misidentified in recruiting correspondence seems to be an issue that repeats itself from time to time.

Any little thing can get you crossed off a prospect’s list, so never underestimate the importance of proofreading.

Is Someone Else Calling You Baby?” Luke Bryan

This one might be self-explanatory but just in case: It’s common place for players who commit to continue to be recruited by many other schools.

That inevitably leads to a lot of anxiety for fans (and if they’re willing to admit it coaches, too) starting to think, “If you’re over my love, lay it on my heart, don’t try and save me…”

Bless the Broken Road,” Rascal Flatts 

Hey, spin is important. Sometimes coaches don’t get their first choice, and power programs are often lucky to have other big-time prospects waiting for offers when they get turned down by that five-star from across the country.

“Others who broke my heart? They were like northern stars… ”

Whatever works, right?

“Close Enough to Perfect,” Alabama 

Continuing with that theme, no coach has ever put together a class he didn’t say he loved on signing day. 

Whether that group is ranked No. 1 or 100, it is just full of guys the staff is ecstatic about even if they acknowledge nobody signs everyone they want.

Or, yeah, we just needed to make sure “Alabama” was mentioned somewhere in any recruiting story. 

(Hey, we resisted the urge to do a list solely of songs by George Strait, Johnny Cash or Taylor Swift. What more do you want?)

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