Peyton Manning delivers good news to Frankfort football team

(Photo: Riddell Media)
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FRANKFORT, Ind. (WTHR) - Usually when you think of football, you don't think of Peyton Manning and Frankfort High School in the same sentence.

There has been a resurgence for football at Frankfort High School in the last year.

"When I took over last year, we had 16 kids on the team. We are at 65 on the roster right now," second-year head coach James Byers said.

So Byers had players, he just needed an upgrade in equipment. So he applied for Riddell's 2019 Smarter Football Program grant.

"There were over 800 entries from around the country," Frankfort Athletic Director Ed Niehaus pointed out.

"I got an email this morning and ran down to Mr. Niehaus' office and said, 'Did you see this?'" Byers remembered.

"Greetings Frankfort High School! Peyton Manning here. Congratulations on being named the 2019 Smarter Football Grant winner," former Colts QB Peyton Manning announced on social media.

"Usually when a coach tells me he has to talk to me it is not a good thing, but in this case it was good for Frankfort High School," Niehaus said.

The grant winners announced by Manning will receive $10,000 which the schools can use to update their equipment with Riddell gear.

"These are the ones we are looking to phase out. The older pads. This is what I played with when I was in high school 10 years ago," Byers observed.

He took Eyewitness News down to the locker room to show us the difference between the newer helmets and the older ones they want to phase out. And the old shoulder pads tied in the front with zip ties and the newer ones they want every player to have.

"One of our big things was getting all of our kids in these types of helmets," Byers continued.

"It's about player safety and health and getting kids involved," Ed Niehaus concluded.

Now, Frankfort High School can have both.

"If you want to play football in Frankfort, Indiana we got you," Byers stated.

In sports, it's often said a win is a win. In this case, even if it comes on Tuesday.

Riddell said the winning entries showed a shared effort to remain steadfast in the commitment to player safety, personal and team development, community service and advancement of the sport on and off the field.