Award winner will be announced in Orlando in May
The Oakland Patriots have earned lots of accolades on the field over the years, but the football team is now being considered for an award that has nothing to do with the final outcome of the game.
The Patriots have been named a finalist for the Varsity Brands Spirit of Sportsmanship Award, a national award that will be announced on May 12 in Orlando, Florida. The award submission was based on the Oakland versus Lebanon High School playoff game in November.
Oakland entered the game ranked No. 1 and dominated 42-0 as the final seconds ticked off the clock.
On the last play of the game, which was played at Lebanon, something special happened.
Lebanon’s Aston Filder, a senior with special needs, scored a prearranged 50-yard Jet Sweep.
Oakland Coach Kevin Creasy and Lebanon Coach Chuck Gentry communicated prior to the game about the potential for the goodwill play.
“Coach Creasy and I exchanged text messages during the day,” Gentry said. “I told him it was in his court to do it or not.”
Coach Creasy explained: “If an opportunity arose, we had agreed that he is a well-deserving player that was allowed to play this year. They say he is a kid that never misses a workout, never misses a practice. We decided it was the right thing to do.”
Ashton lined up for the play and took the ball in for his first ever touchdown.
Players, cheerleaders and fans from both schools rushed the field to congratulate Ashton.
Video of the play became an instant hit on social media and drew national attention, including a mention from the NFL’s Monday Night Football official Twitter account.
Coach Gentry was grateful for the display of sportsmanship by the Patriots.
“I appreciate Oakland being on board,” Gentry said. “I know Ashton appreciates it. We gave him the game ball.”
The play was captured on video by The Tennessean and quickly gained national attention.