Six years ago, Douglass played its first varsity game against Uplift at Hanson Stadium, and uniforms and equipment were hard to come by for the new program.
Times have changed for the Tigers. The program will be able to buy new equipment and uniforms with the money it received Monday by winning one of 22 Muscle Milk Recovery Grants, which brings the team $7,500.
Bears running back Matt Forte, who presented the award to first-year coach Julius Carter, also surprised the team with an additional $2,500 from the company.
For Carter, the grant couldn’t have been more of a blessing.
“This is big for the program,’’ Carter said. “To get recognition for a school like this and for the Austin community is great, it will bring something good to their lives.’’
In the past, it was normal for Douglass to field teams of only 12 or 13 kids. The team now has about 30 kids, and senior defensive end Tyrone Kincaid knows why.
“Before, with all the old equipment and stuff, people were getting injured a lot,’’ Kincaid said. “A lot of people had to play both ways and were tired. Now with new equipment, it will help us be more prepared.’’
The importance of such a grant and what it can bring to not only Douglass, but other schools, wasn’t lost on Forte.
“For programs like this, this is huge, because a lot of the funding isn’t there,’’ said Forte, who indicated he attended a high school double or triple the size of Douglass. “It’s important to keep the sport and kids active. If you can get them organized, it teaches them discipline. It gives them the abilities to get memories.’’
Added senior running back Jason Burns: ‘‘What better way is there to have an idol help you achieve your goals?’’