The Ecole Secondaire Franco Cite Patriotes has won a grant through the Riddell 18 in 18 Smarter Football Program.
Franco-Cite was one of 1400 applicants from across North America who applied and the West Nipissing high school is the lone Canadian school to get the grant.
The school also received a pleasant surprise, as NFL legend and Riddell ambassador, Peyton Manning sent the school a personal message of congrats.
“Hey Franco-Cite, I want to extend my huge congratulations as a Riddel 1818 smarter football equipment grant winner,” stated Manning in a youtube video.
“Your ability to continue to grow your program amongst larger schools is a testament to what you are doing on the field to improve the game. We are proud to offer you this grant and hope it helps you continue to positively influence the sport and your student-athletes now and in the future.
“We are excited for your program and we cannot wait to continue the 2018 season with some new gear, good luck,” concluded the two-time Super Bowl champion.
Eric Renaud, the Franco-Cite junior football head coach says they applied for this grant in June not really knowing what the outcome would be.
When we got news of this, we were absolutely ecstatic," said Renaud. Our players, coaching staffs and volunteers work hard to keep our program running and we compete against larger schools in our district because of them. This grant is recognition of all that hard work.
"This money will be used to replace aging equipment which we try to do every year," said Guy Lavigne, athletic director at Franco-Cite.
"This just makes things a lot easier. The players will be extremely grateful to get access to top-notch equipment. We thank Peyton Manning and Riddell for choosing us amongst many submissions."
Riddell chose the Patriotes due to the program being dedicated to staying up-to-date on the latest drills to help teach smarter tackling and blocking techniques.
As an introduction to high school football, Franco Cite offers a camp for 7th and 8th graders where they can learn the basics of proper tackling and blocking in a non-contact environment before they transition to the high school team.
“As the industry leader in athlete protection, we are incredibly passionate about working together with exemplary football programs and advocates like Peyton Manning to further advance the sport we all love and believe in,” said Riddell President and Chief Executive Officer Dan Arment in a release.
“We extend high praise to this year’s class of Smarter Football winners and thank all who applied for ‘18 in 18.’ The future of football is strong with this year’s grant recipients paving the way,” Arment continued.