THOMSON, Ga (WJBF)- It’s football Friday night in the CSRA. High school players all over the area are excited to get back out on the field.
All high school athletes must maintain certain grades to stay eligible to play, and coaches encourage those good grades. But, one head coach in Thomson takes it a step further with a program to help his players academically.
Coach Michael Youngblood is going into his 5th year at Thomson High School. He said winning football games is great, but a good education is essential.
“You’re looking at a person who knows the importance of education and trying to provide education for my personal kids as well as the kids within this football program,” Youngblood explained.
Youngblood said many of his players want to go on to play college ball, and college expectations are high.
“If you make 80 percent or better, that gives you an opportunity to meet NCAA requirements in trying to go to college to play any sports. And academically you have to make 80 percent or better.”
Youngblood pushes for all of his players to maintain at least a “B” average. So, he started a program to help players struggling academically keep their grades up.
“During the course of football season, we try our best to make sure we do study hall on Mondays and Tuesdays,” he said.
Senior linebacker, Jaquan Hart, said coaches and players at Thomson High School work as a team both on the field and in the classroom.
“When you’re struggling with your classes and you need help you can go to a teammate that’s in an advanced class or a coach, because coaches teach too,” Hart said. “And they will help you with anything you need help with and with them you’ll get through. You’ll be alright.”
Youngblood’s program isn’t just about tutoring. It also helps players with college applications and test prep.
“So we’ll bring the seniors inhere. Make sure they have on college board. We’re constantly at practice, every day after practice reminding them to sign up to take the SAT or ACT,” Youngblood said.
Hart said Coach Youngblood inspires him, on and off the field.
“I’ve learned a lot of lessons from him. You’ve just got to be the best version of you. And just do what you supposed to do at all times and things will fall in line,” he said.
Friday night, we will be airing the Thomson Burke County matchup on Game Night live. You can watch on MeTV at 7:30 p.m. and again on Sunday, August 21 at noon.