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Working to make up the difference… Touchdown Club uses annual mulch drive to support football program

BY IVAN SANDERS
STAR STAFF
ivan.sanders@elizabethton.com
As an athletic director, school administrator, and coach can attest, 2020 was a year that impacted school athletics from not only a standpoint of getting games in for their athletes but also from a financial situation.

Especially with the loss of gate money during the football season when most schools make most of the revenue that other school sports rely on for needs such as equipment, uniforms, and travel expenses.

The Elizabethton High School football team has been fortunate to have the support of their Cyclone Touchdown Club that has raised funds over the years to help supplement the program to allow for the purchase of needed food to feed the team, buses to go to the state playoffs, and equipment the team might not have otherwise.

Once again this year, the Club took advantage of the need of the community for mulch to place in their flower beds and around their homes and businesses by taking orders on colored mulch such as brown, red, and black as well as the common bark nuggets to make sure they could help with needs the team might have after a challenging 2020.

According to Cyclone Touchdown Club President Tony Briggs, the team was thankful to have the backing of the local Lowes in helping the Club raise the funds they did this year as nearly 8,000 bags of mulch were sold by the team and provided by Lowe’s.

“Due to COVID, Lowe’s had to raise the price on us a little bit so we sold as many bags but didn’t make as much money as we did in the past,” Briggs said. “Last year we did some locker room renovations and this year we have some training equipment and weight equipment and things like that we are looking to help with.

“We are going to make around $15,000 and it will all be put back into the program going after number three (state championship).”

Briggs said that he was very thankful to have a store in the community like Lowe’s who is willing to work with schools and other programs to help provide an opportunity like this to the Touchdown Club.

“Lowe’s has done well to work with us,” Briggs added. “Where they purchase their mulch from had raised the price on them and they had to raise the price to us. We really didn’t want to but we had to raise our price a little bit as well.

“Shane has been tremendous to work with at Lowe’s. They told us that whatever we had leftover, they would be willing to buy it back.”

When looking at what the Club had to sell their mulch for, Briggs said compared to everyday prices the Club was only about 40 cents higher in pricing.

Briggs went on to say that it was important that the Club once again had a successful fundraiser especially with the loss of revenue from the reduction in attendance at sporting events.

“Sports programs as a whole went through a traumatic downturn in economic funding,” Briggs stated. “Last year, we had a great mulch sale and were able to pay for four buses to the state championship and we were able to pay for three when we went to Nolensville so the Club was allowed to take that off the school and handle that as a Club.

“It’s nothing that we did but we give God all the praise – He is the one that allowed us to do it. Behind Him, He allowed us to do it, and it’s just phenomenal the pouring of the community spirit. We had to order some more mulch due to the demand.”

One of the things that the Club also hopes to do is have a big community celebration of the Cyclones’ second consecutive state championship hopefully sometime in May outdoors.

He also added that he hopes that 2021 will allow football to get back to somewhat of normalcy especially for the Cyclones who deserve to have their stands filled.

The Club still has the following mulch available for those who didn’t get to participate in the pre-order:
70 bags of black mulch.
380 bags of brown Cyprus.
125 bags of pine bark mulch.
325 bags of large nuggets.
120 bags small nuggets.

These can be secured by contacting Ricky Walters at Horace Mann Insurance in Elizabethton.

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