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Goose Creek Gators given rings despite being disqualified from playoffs

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February 25th, 2013 -

"I kind of wanted to cry a little bit to be honest," jokes Caleb Kinlaw, junior running back.

It was an emotional night at Goose Creek High School Monday as the Gator football team was rewarded rings during a celebration ceremony. The Gators may not be state champs, but with the community in full support, they were treated like they were.

"They live for this, and just to run out of that helmet, it means so much to them," says GC head coach Chuck Reedy. "You get goose bumps."

The Gator football team was disqualified during the playoffs this past season because of an ineligible player. Despite fighting the ruling in court and appealing to the South Carolina High School League several times - the ruling was upheld.

Monday night's celebration meant to show the boys that despite that ruling, they are still winners. Every player was called by name, and given a ring that states their 13-0 record, their rankings, and the word "integrity".

Coach Reedy trying to show his kids that even if the season did not end the way they envisioned, they have nothing to be ashamed about. "Nothing will ever make up for what happened, and for what was taken away from this football team, but what they saw tonight was love from their community."

That love meant the world to a team that just wanted to defend their state title this season. Senior linebacker Jalen Stevens says, "It was a blessing to get to be with the team one more time, and we have the best community support in the state."

Rashard Alston, senior running back says, "It's definitely the way we wanted to go out, with a big bang, and show everybody that integrity is the way to go."

The rings do not say State Champions, but the Gators still see themselves as winners. Sophomore quarterback Dantez Bennamon says, "We still didn't lose to anybody, and nobody can take that away from us."

"As far as we know we are still the state champs so we are defending our title," adds Kinlaw.

They are winners - not because of what they did on the field, but because they learned how to hold themselves off the field.

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