R-H receives USA Football grant

Published 11:13 am Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Randolph-Henry High School’s football program has recently become the beneficiary of a USA Football grant that afforded the Statesmen two tackle tubes — training tools to help them hone their talents in practice.

USA Football is the national governing body  of the sport, and the organization’s website further notes it works to make the game better and safer.

R-H Athletic Director Chris Holt said the addition of the tackle tubes was made possible by the school’s head track and field coach, Joe Freeland, who made him aware of the fact that USA Football occasionally offers grants to schools that apply and are able to articulate a need in a certain area.

Vege Pack, who works with grants related to education, helped Holt through the process.

“We partnered together and took a look at the application and tried to … fill out all the information that we could together,” Holt said. “And then she was able to provide me some information about our county that helped, and I was able to provide some specific need areas within the football program that I could express in the application.”

He said they submitted the application, and “we were thrilled to find out that we had been selected to receive two of the new tackling tubes that are out there.”

Holt said he did some research to learn about tackling tubes and how they can be used.

“They come in three different sizes — one for youth and then one is a medium level and then another is a senior level, which would be for high school students,” he said. “And I certainly think that they’re going to be an asset to our practices. They’re going to be a help in teaching kids how to tackle and how to tackle properly to help avoid injury.”

As seen in videos on YouTube.com, the large doughnut-shaped tubes  can roll in the way of ball carriers, acting like defenders that need to be dodged. Among their other creative uses, they can be treated as the ball carrier, allowing defenders an opportunity to wrap up part of the tube like they ought to wrap up a player.

Holt said that new Randolph-Henry Head Varsity Football Coach Zach Orlando was familiar with tackle tubes and was excited the program would be able to benefit from them.

“They’re going to be great tools for us to work on our technique on tackling and get a lot of use out of them,” Orlando said. “It’s a big deal to be awarded with this, and I really appreciate the work that Mr. Holt did to get this grant in place.”