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High school football coaches and players work to tackle youth violence

Posted at 10:42 PM, Aug 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-22 23:49:11-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn (WTVF) — As youth violence spikes across Nashville, four high school football teams are working together to help put an end to it one school at a time.

Cane Ridge, Hillsboro, Maplewood and Pearl Cohn high school football teams are coming together as one to tackle their biggest opponent - juvenile crime.

"I'm glad that we're able to come together as a unity as football players and be able to say we're going to create peace at our games," said one player.

From January 1 to August 17 of this year, Metro Nashville Police says 150 juveniles have been arrested, which is 227 felony charges and 192 misdemeanors. Most of those crimes - 50 of them - being committed by 16-year-olds.

It's something these student athletes say they are all too familiar with in their own communities.

"Friends we grew up all through childhood played peewee football they're all dying and gone. That's something you don't want to do," said student athlete William Griffin.

Griffin, who plays for Pearl Cohn says it's route he knows too well.

"My dad and my brother they both went down the gangsta lifestyle. My dad is still alive, my brother died in 2014. After he died it clicked for me like that aint the way to go. If it can happen to him it can happen to me, it can happen to anybody," said Griffin.

The athletes are asking for no violence at the schools, in the streets and at the games.

"You shouldn't be scared to come out to the game, you should want to come out, support your local high school kids because you don't know where they can go," said Griffin.

And where these young men say they want to go is far in life.

"We want to go to college, get a good degree, start a career," said student athlete Kyndrich Breedlove.

These players will hit the field Saturday at Tennessee State University for their first coaches against violence game doubleheader, Kickoff starts at 3 p.m.

The movement was established in April of 2019, this movement is led by high school football coaches; Eddie Woods (Cane Ridge), Maurice Fitzgerald (Hillsboro), Arcentae Broome (Maplewood) and Toni Brunetti (Pearl-Cohn).