The DeKalb County High School Football Program has an extra $10,000 thanks to Tennessee Titans Quarterback Marcus Mariota and the NFL.
During a visit to DCHS Tuesday morning, Mariota announced that he was making a donation of $5,000 to the Tiger football program and that the NFL Foundation would match the award with a $5,000 donation of its own.
Mariota was in town as part of a four town high school tour in partnership with Saint Thomas Health, which has hospitals in the four towns of Smithville, Sparta, McMinnville, and Woodbury.
In addition to Mariota’s announcement, a check for $1,500 was presented to DCHS Principal Randy Jennings from Andy Wachtel, CEO of Saint Thomas Highlands Hospital in Sparta, Saint Thomas DeKalb Hospital in Smithville and Saint Thomas Stones River Hospital in Woodbury to be used for the school.
Speaking to an audience of fans, Tiger football players, members of the high school band and others, Mariota talked about the upcoming season for the Titans, the mission of the Motive8 foundation which he established in 2015 to promote a healthy mind and body among youth in Hawaii, Oregon and Tennessee, and he had words of encouragement for the Tiger football team
Mariota encouraged the seniors on the team to be a role model for the younger players. “They are counting on you to be the best player that you can be both on and off the field. Take that role model responsibility and run with it and enjoy your last year.”
Through the Motive8 Foundation, Mariota said the goal is to help underprivileged youth.”My family and I created what is called Motive8. Our foundation wants to reach out and help underprivileged youth. We want to make an impact. When I was growing up, there were so many guys from the state of Hawaii, who were probably better athletes than me, but they didn’t have the resources to achieve their dreams of playing collegiately or professionally. Our aim is to help provide those resources for youth to give them an opportunity to make their dreams come true and when its their turn they can give back,” he said.
As for the upcoming season, Mariota said he can’t wait to get started. “I’m excited. It’s really hard to put into words. I think we have a great core group of guys that really want to win. Its fun to be a part of it. We appreciate all of your support. We’re excited to get things rolling. We start Friday and hope we’re not done until February. Our goal is to win a Super Bowl and when things get tough and on days like today when its hot and you have to go out and practice you have to remind yourself of that goal. For me, my focus is I don’t want to let the guy next to me down. If every decision I make is about the guy next to me on my right and left, I think eventually the team will be in a good spot and hopefully we’ll be able to achieve that goal. I can’t wait for the season to get going,” said Mariota.
After making his remarks, Mariota presented DCHS football Coach Steve Trapp with a signed jersey. The Titans quarterback received from Coach Trapp a DCHS Tiger Pride shirt.