Cheering for a cause

By KORRIE MCEACHERN, JHAZMINE LASSITER and JULIAN LUCAS

The numbers tell a story.

One Brody Morton hard count that drew the Charles B. Aycock defense offside at the end of the game and gave the Cougars the ability to clock it.

Two Xzavior Bowden touchdown runs.

Three wins already this season for a Goldsboro High School football program that won zero last season.

Thirty yards pulled in on an amazing one-handed snag by Andrew McNeill.

Two hundred fifty-two rushing yards added to Bowden’s already impressive season stat sheet.

But there was one number that seems bigger than them all.

Friday night at GHS was about more than a rivalry football game. For members of the Cougar cheerleading team, it was a chance to give back. The young ladies wore special T-shirts and sold foam fingers — all to make sure a donation ended up at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

When it was all said and done and the donations were counted, the results left everyone amazed and in awe. The goal was one hundred dollars. The ladies surpassed — and nearly doubled — it. And when the check is sent, thanks to their effort and the compassion of the crowd, the amount will read one hundred seventy.

GHS’ cheerleading coach Bethany Stewart was so proud of her girls for exceeding their goal, but before the game, she was nervous because the seat cushions that were supposed to be sold as part of the fundraiser had not been delivered yet because of Hurricane Harvey.

“I want us to reach it and I think we will, but I am a little bit nervous about it, since the seat cushions aren’t here yet. They won’t be in (until) Monday. We actually thought they wouldn’t couldn’t come in at all,” Coach Stewart told the Pride before the game. “We were told Wednesday that they were actually destroyed by the flood, and we were called Thursday and (told) they’ll be here on Monday. We are very excited to get them, but we wished we would have had them before (the fundraiser).”

More stuff to sell means a better chance of hitting the goal, she thought. But members of her team overcame the adversity, just as they hope the two Wayne County children currently being treated at St. Jude do.

“Through this process we found out about these two (Wayne County) kids who are at St. Jude’s, and it’s great for the girls to give back. Truly it takes a lot … to care enough to give back. I knew about it, but I asked them if they wanted to do it and they said yes,” Coach Stewart said. “They are the ones who wanted to do it. It makes me proud of my girls.”

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Photos by TYLER KEARNEY

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