Gridiron Heroes: Fathers Get Taste of Rio Hondo Football

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RIO HONDO – Parents’ night became a father-son Friday.

Before their game against Zapata, Rio Hondo football coach Rocky James invited every dad to join their son in the locker room.

“I gave them a little speech and told them that I wanted them to be a part of our family,” said James. “90 percent of the time, we’re here at the school and in this locker room. I  just wanted them to be a part of something special.”

It wasn’t just James that gave a pre-game speech. Some dads also stepped in to offer their words of encouragement.

The experience was a surprise not just for the dads in the locker room, but also for their sons.

“The first thing he said was it smells in there,” said Rio Hondo senior Frank Hernandez. “But after that, he said it was great being in there. Not everyone gets to experience that. Your dad coming in here, seeing what you do before the game, helping you get ready. That was the best part of it. That’s what hit my heart.”

After their pre-game time in the locker room, James came up with another idea. The team would storm the field along with their dads.

“I had kids telling me that was the most special moment of their life,” said James. “Being in the tunnel with their dad.”

“That’s your dad,” said Hernandez. “That’s the man of your life right there. That’s the guy that takes care of you.”

It was a special night for the team and their families.

The night was even sweeter after a Bobcat victory.

“We’re a brotherhood here and along with our parents, it’s one big family,” said James.

Later in the season, the team is planning a mother-son day during homecoming week. As part of the pre-game experience, James says mothers will have the opportunity to decorate the locker room.

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