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05/06/20

NTX Honda Helpful Heroes: Grandview Football Remains Close-Knit During Pandemic

“I’ve never seen a group more close to each other in those 17 years. They just want to be with each other.”

- Ryan Ebner, Grandview Head Football Coach

In a small town like Grandview, Texas, with a population of just over 1,500 people, playing football for the Grandview Zebras isn’t just about the competition. It’s about being together. It’s about comradery. It’s about forming a bond with the kid down the street and using that bond to accomplish one singular goal... a state championship.

At Grandview, the Zebras had won back-to-back state titles. Heading into the 2020 season, they were looking for the three-peat, but now, with the coronavirus causing everyone to quarantine, the Zebras just want to see each other. “I’ve been coaching a sport at Grandview for 17 years,” said Ryan Ebner, Grandview Head Football Coach. “I’ve never seen a group more close to each other in those 17 years. They just want to be with each other.”

Photo Credit: Daniel R. Garcia/Cleburne Times-Review | Grandview wins their 2nd straight state title in 2019 with a 42-35 victory over Pottsboro

Before the town of Grandview was completely under quarantine, Coach Ebner, his coaches, and members of Grandview ISD had a plan. Being a rural area, sometimes the internet is sparse and the kids were not able to get their assignments.

Coach Ebner loaded up his truck with packets of schoolwork and hand delivered them to each house that didn’t have internet access. That’s Pre-K through high school. “Sometimes we would knock and just leave it. Other times we would have a conversation from a safe distance through the screen door or maybe just from the cab of my truck. I just wanted to make sure they were doing all right and didn’t need anything,” said Ebner. The kind of interaction the small town kids were yearning for.

Since the quarantine is in full effect, Ebner and his staff aren’t allowed to make those trips anymore, but for his football players, he connects with them daily. Ebner sends out different workouts daily. From footwork drills to exercises they can do with a sibling, Ebner makes sure his guys have stuff to do and that he connects with them daily.

It’s a waiting game now, but with the help of men like Ryan Ebner, the wait doesn’t have to be unproductive as the Zebras look forward to being together again.

In the video below, Inside High School Sports host Pat Doney discusses the wonderful things programs are doing in their local community to be “Helpful” during these unprecedented times.