APPOMATTOX (WSLS 10) – The small town of Appomattox came out by the hundreds Monday to support their high school football team.
The Raiders are state champions with an undefeated record of 15 and 0, but to get there, both the team and the town had to overcome a series of tragedies.
This year the team and the town came together with one slogan: the power of one.
Through several deaths, including the loss of several Appomattox High School students, the town has looked to the football team for hope, and this year the players didn’t let them down.
“It felt great, it was the best feeling in the world.”
Thats how senior quarterback Matt Page says it feels to lift his community up with the school’s first state title since the 1960’s.
Coach Doug Smith says the parade Monday shows how proud the town is of their talented young athletes.
“As the community became more involved with them because of all the tragedies that were happening, and there was some success going on, I think they got more involved and it became a we, it didn’t become just the team, it’s Appomattox,” said Smith.
Monday was the first time ever the town has honored a football team with a parade.
“It feels amazing to the community that they’re out here supporting us in the cold.”
This past week, Smith received the Joshua Leonard Character and Commitment Award at the WSLS 10 1st and 10 Awards Banquet.
He says the accolade represents the whole team’s hard work.
“It was really more of a team award and just the way our kids responded with good sportsmanship and we’ve made a commitment this group’s made a commitment to play the game the way it’s supposed to be played,” said Smith.
Now that he and his teammates have achieved what many thought was impossible, Page says he has a message for next year’s team.
“I hope they go to several workouts and several practices so they can keep the tradition going and win another state championship,” said Page.