Trenton Tornadoes Football - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

Trenton Tornadoes Football

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Trenton, New Jersey (My9NJ) -

The Trenton Central High School football team, the Tornadoes, is currently having what might be considered a miraculous season with an undefeated record of 6-0. This is from a team that had only won a total of four games over the previous several seasons.

However, it’s not all fun and games. The city of Trenton is known to be rough around the edges. Just in 2013 alone there have been 34 murders which break’s the state’s capital record and the year isn’t eve over.

The Tornadoes are comprised of mostly young African-Americans who play the sport in order to help stay out of trouble. Sadly, every single member of the football team has lost a family member or close friend to gun violence.

And in July, team member, Shakir Williams, 17, was killed at a party in Hamilton. The team's helmets honor Williams with an SW sticker on the back.

Jamel Kely, TCHS football player and Williams’ best friend says, “It still hurts every day. I grew up with him, it was very difficult, but football gives me comfort."

Coach Tarig Holman has been a real support system for these players and has challenged these kids daily. He does this by making them wake up every morning during the summer Monday-Sunday at 6a.m. Now that school is in session, practice is in the morning, and if they don’t get an A in school, they have to answer to the coach.

Before their game against Allentown, Holman said in the locker room, “This is our home; this is our home, and our family’s out there. So my question is, 'What do you do when someone comes to your house, and puts a damn sledge hammer in your family room?' You stand up and you kick their ass.”

Holman often uses violent imagery to help motivate these kids, which might come off in a negative way to people who don’t come from rough neighborhoods, but the kids seem to understand where the coach is coming from which helps them look up to him.

The team is also helped by Trenton cops, who act as assistant coaches.

Officer Jamar Booker says, “This is my school, this is my city, I love my school, I love my city, and 18 years ago, believe it or not, I was one of them. I was in their position. Playing football, I could have gotten in trouble but fortunately, I didn’t, but I didn’t have really anybody to come back to and look after me, so I wanted to make sure I could do that for these kids.”

The team has rallied around Coach Holman's motto, “One of the ways to succeeding is to always stick together”.

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