Field of dreams: Jerry Rice takes to gridiron with hard-luck Scarborough football team

NFL great stresses healthy habits, winning attitude to students, players

Despite a five-year-long, 48-game losing streak, the Scarborough HS Spartans football team felt like winners on Sept. 9. They had a Pro Football Hall of Fame legend on the field and in their corner.

NFL great Jerry Rice came to campus at midday to rally the student body as part of Lysol’s “Healthy Habits” program and stayed late into the afternoon to spend time with the 33 players who showed up to be put through his tough paces.

Rice’s message: “It’s all about putting the time in” to build chemistry and camaraderie, he said. “Anything can happen if you have the right group…You’ve got to be accountable, you’ve got to be disciplined.”

First-year head coach Ajani Sanders was only too happy to defer to the man who holds three Super Bowl rings. Rice, 51, showed energy in the Texas heat and humidity, doing drills with the players, and offering tips on technique — and even a little discipline in the form of extra push-ups.

Earlier, Rice advised both Wainwright ES and Scarborough students that healthy practices, such as hand-washing, exercise, and eating right, are important to staying well and not missing school. The Healthy Habits talk “gives me a chance to set them up to be successful in school and on the field,” Rice said.

Among his advice for young people was to spend at least one hour a day outside. Even students who don’t participate in sports should stay active, he told the Scarborough students, by walking to and from school and helping with chores.

The Spartans venture to the far northeast of Houston to play Huntington HS at 7:30 p.m. on Friday.

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