Representatives from the Rolla Senior High Football team arrived at The Greater Rolla Area Charitable Enterprise, (G.R.A.C.E.) Tuesday, Nov. 14, to show high school sports are about more than playing a game. The senior football captains, along with head coach Jon Franks and athletic director Mark Caballero, brought with them a wealth of food donations raised during their state quarterfinal game on Nov. 10..

Jon Franks said the opportunity to help their community, and raise donations for G.R.A.C.E. is just as important for the team as becoming better athletes.

“For us as a football program, in the part of growing our kids, they need to understand they need to give back to the community, and give back to other people,” Franks said. “Because some people go through rough times, and it’s nice to have empathy and compassion for other humans, that’s we’re we’re at. We want our people to understand that life can be hard and you need to be able to help out once and awhile. A lot is given to us and people want to see our kids have the good opportunities, but it’s good for our kids to give back.”

The football staff and students arrived at G.R.A.C.E. with a trailer of donations they unloaded to be used by the charitable organization. During the quarterfinal game, the first hundred patrons were able to get in for free, thanks to a financial donation made by Legends Bank, as long as they gave five or more canned or non-perishable food items. The football team also received an entire pallet of food from the local Walmart, which they helped unload with the rest of their offerings.

Mark Cabarello added there is nothing better than being able to use their football platform to serve and give back to the community while teaching the athletes what he described as “serving-type leadership.”  

“They are definitely a good group of leaders,” he said. “It shows there’s more to sports than being good at a game. You’ve got to be a leader, you’ve got to be able to sacrifice. You’ve got to be able to do things when other people don’t. This group, they’ve done a really nice job.”

Some of the food was sorted into boxes and sent out as Thanksgiving meals, while the rest was designated towards the Christmas season. Cabarello also expressed his thanks to the Rolla institutions that donated as well.

“Legends Bank, they were so great,” he said. “They were right on board with us, helping out.” He said some workers from the bank also arrived on the scene to help unload the food. He gave specific thanks to Pete Morse from Legends Banks, and Kent Morris from Walmart, whose son is Junior linebacker Josh Morris.

The football team will also be assisting in the delivery of some of the boxes, encouraging the players to be an active part in their surrounding community.

“People like to connect with out youth, and it’s great to be able to utilize certain events on our schedule to be able to help out our community,” Cabarello said.

“That’s part of becoming an adult, understanding how to give,” added Franks.