'Good Morning America' and Michael Strahan surprise Cardinal Hayes High School football champs

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Friday, February 16, 2024
GMA and Michael Strahan surprise high school football champs in Bronx
Lauren Glassberg has the story.

BRONX, New York (WABC) -- A high school football team in the Bronx overcame incredible challenges to ultimately become the first inner-city school to win the state Catholic League Championship.

On Friday morning, players and team members of Cardinal Hayes High School were surprised by "Good Morning America" and Michael Strahan.

Strahan, who was a star defensive end on the Giants, helped break some very good news for several of the players who received offers to play football at different universities.

Eyewitness News had previously profiled the team and some of the challenges they faced.

"We're located in the poorest congressional district in the nation, most of the students come from the surrounding area, one thing we're guaranteed is we're gonna get knocked down, the question is how we respond," said Cardinal Hayes President Michael Carey.

Among the obstacles they overcame was their practice field, which was so deteriorated and dark that it was too dangerous to use. Their home field was so damaged, all their home games were away games.

And that was just this year's struggles.

"What a lot of people are missing is that the senior class here, they were in junior year during COVID," former NFL player Tony Richardson previously said. "So, they missed their season there, playing all their games on the road this year. You are talking about grit and having to overcome things, I think this is a great example of if you continue to keep working hard great things happen."

They responded with a big win in December and the state title. The players have known all along that they are not their circumstances, and now everyone else does too.

"We have a slogan that we are New York City, and on our run to the state championship, the local community put signs in stores and supported the kids and came out, and we had so much support at our games, it was amazing, something you see in the suburbs, but it happened right here in the Bronx," said JV Coach Edmond Wilson.

Their teamwork is paying off in other ways -- they received brand-new equipment and $30,000 from Riddell, Nike cleats for the whole team and $50,000 from Bank of America, plus financial literacy lessons to help the students succeed both on and off the field.

ALSO READ | New high school in Queens will prepare students for careers in health care

Sonia Rincon has the story.


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