Christmas came four months early for four varsity football programs in Baltimore County as the Baltimore Ravens partnered with Xenith to award varsity football players with brand new Top-Performing Xenith X2E+ helmets.
High school athletes from Lansdowne, Hereford, Milford Mill and Sparrows Point received the helmet donation by the Ravens Foundation, Inc. and the Ravens RISE program to support area youth and high school football programs and communities.
“Helmets age out after a certain age and those were the four schools that had the most need,” said Mike Sye, Coordinator for Baltimore County Athletics. “They were losing the most helmets.”
Although Lansdowne head football coach Sean Murphy was unable to hold practice with his players because the coronavirus pandemic has shut down coaching fall sports in person, he got to deliver the good news to two of his captains.
“We knew we were going to have some issues with some of our helmets and it was amazing that the Ravens reached out to us and that Mike was able to orchestrate everything,” Murphy said. “My players are just super excited to have this partnership with the Ravens and Xenith to be able to get these helmets.”
Lansdowne Athletic Director Todd Hawkins was equally excited about the donation.
“It was awesome,” he said. ’It was great to have a partnership with the Ravens and recently, we’ve done more with the Ravens as a county I feel like.”
Sye echoed his sentiments,
“They (Ravens) were awesome in reaching out to me and having the ability to see where there is need and working with them and see them to help the schools is pretty awesome,” he said.
The latest partnership with football helmet, equipment and apparel company Xenith brings the total number of participants impacted by Ravens youth football grant programs in 2020 to over 4,500.
“We are thrilled to partner with Xenith on this program,” Ravens senior vice president of marketing Brad Downs stated in a press release. “While this season may not occur under normal circumstances, the Ravens feel it is important to commit to the future of the sport and safety of the student-athletes. We look forward to continuing our support for years to come.”
Through Ravens RISE and the Ravens’ football outreach program, the team annually serves both youth and high school football programs by contributing cleats, donating weight-training equipment, hosting clinics for youth football coaches, honoring area high school coaches through the Ravens Coach of the Week program, and recognizing outstanding high school football matchups through the Ravens High School Football Showdown.
“It is an honor to partner with a renowned football program like the Baltimore Ravens to surprise this deserving group of student-athletes with new, upgraded helmets,” said Ryan Sullivan, Xenith CEO in a press release. “At Xenith, we believe that everyone who wants to play football should have access to top-rated protection. Opportunities like this allow us to deliver on our mission in a really meaningful way, and we are excited to outfit these Baltimore-area high schools in top-performing helmets.”
Lansdowne received 28 new helmets.
“They are being stored now and hopefully we have a season,” Lansdowne athletic director Todd Hawkins said.
Sye couldn’t agree more.
“Nobody wants to be in this position and nobody could see this coming and we are at where we are at and lets do what is in the best interest for the kids and try to get them back out there as soon as possible,” Sye said.
After going 1-8 last season, coach Murphy was looking forward to 2020.
“We were very young last season, so this year was supposed to be a big season for us because we’d have been senior-heavy this year, while last year we were sophomore and junior-heavy,” said Murphy, who will only be allowed to coach his athletes virtually from Sept. 8 through Oct. 23.
All fall coaches will virtually coach during that span.
Winter coaches will virtually coach from Oct. 25 through Dec. 11 and spring season virtual coaching will last from Dec. 14 through Jan. 29.
Murphy is eager to get the virtual coaching started.
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“We are actually very excited about that,” he said. “The county has outlined it to be a social, emotional connection and just meeting with them and going over individual workouts that they can do.”