by SETH WILKERSON | Sports Writer
The Humboldt Vikings Football team is gearing up for an exciting opportunity as they travel to Memphis, Tenn. to play at the historic Liberty Bowl Stadium on July 28. They will be facing off against the Liberty Tech Crusaders in what promises to be a thrilling match-up.
When asked about how this opportunity came about, Viking Head Coach Teddy Pettigrew modestly stated, “Not trying to toot my own horn or anything, but when you’ve been in the industry for a long time, opportunities come to you.”
Coach Pettigrew is entering his 21st year as a high school football coach and Humboldt is fortunate to have his wealth of experience leading their program.
The idea of playing at the Liberty Bowl Stadium was presented by a couple of Coach Pettigrew’s friends who are no longer in coaching but are passionate about promoting high school football programs.
“When you build bridges along the way with coaches, it is something that you get a chance to walk across one day,” Coach Pettigrew explained.
After discussing the potential benefits for the Humboldt Viking football program, a plan was developed and both teams agreed to the scrimmage at the Liberty Bowl Stadium. On July 28, there will be several other games taking place at the stadium. The Middle College Bulldogs will take on the Memphis Business Academy and the Houston Mustangs will face off against the Memphis University Owls. However, the Humboldt Viking vs Liberty Crusader game will be the featured match-up at 7 p.m.
Coach Pettigrew expressed his desire for his team to be the main event, saying, “Our kids deserve it.”
The game at the Liberty Bowl Stadium is not just a pre-season scrimmage, it is also an opportunity for fundraising. To support the Humboldt Vikings, individuals can purchase tickets online and select the team they would like to support (www.callplaybook.com/HumboldtHHS). A portion of the proceeds from the ticket sales goes directly to the Humboldt Viking Football program. Even if someone does not live in the Humboldt area, they can still donate to the program through the website.
Running a high school football program comes with significant costs at over $900 to dress out one player for the year. As school systems do not fund this on a regular basis, it is up to the coaches to actively raise the necessary funds. It is crucial for the Humboldt community to support the team in their fundraising efforts, as it ensures the football program can continue to rebuild and thrive.
In addition to the Liberty Bowl game, there are other ongoing fundraisers for the Humboldt Football program. The Humboldt Viking online store offers a selection of gear that individuals can purchase to support the team. A portion of the proceeds from these sales also goes towards the program. The team’s goal is to sell at least 280 products through the online store.
Another fundraising initiative is the “30 for 30 adopt a Viking.” Each player has 30 slots and individuals can contribute $30 to adopt them. This money provides the players with essential items they need for the year, such as practice gear, sweat suits, and this year, a button-down shirt with a tie or bow tie and shoes. Coach Pettigrew emphasizes the importance of the team looking professional and representing Humboldt well when they travel.
The Humboldt Vikings have been hard at work during the off-season program with approximately 35 players participating. The team has already had scrimmages and is finally back on schedule with their off-season workout schedule. Coach Pettigrew understands the importance of conditioning the players effectively, especially without an indoor facility. To avoid the heat, practices are held from 7:30-10 a.m. and other sports who share the athletes have been asked to not start their practices until 1-2 p.m. to give the players time to recover.
It is essential for the Humboldt community to rally behind the football program, not just through financial support, but also by attending the games. The Liberty Bowl game on July 28 will be a fantastic opportunity to witness the team in action. The regular season is set to kick off on August 18 and the community’s support is vital to the team’s success throughout the season.