, Salem, MA

January 19, 2013

Local business helps Panthers raise money for rings

By Will Broaddus
Staff writer

---- — BEVERLY — For the Beverly High School football team, nothing could match receiving the Division 2A Super Bowl trophy in December.

But getting gift cards and coupons from Modell’s Sporting Goods in North Beverly Plaza yesterday, in recognition of their championship season, was pretty sweet.

So was being treated to lunch from Freeda’s Pizza, followed by cake from Shaw’s Supermarket.

Several of the players said they bought gear at Modell’s during football season, including sweat clothes and tape, and the gift cards will come in handy as they play other sports in the spring. But they were especially pleased that the coupons will help them raise money for rings to commemorate their Super Bowl victory.

For 28 days, the coupons will give players a 15 percent discount on any purchase they make, while also donating 5 percent to their ring fundraiser.

“It’s our Team Week program,” said Mark Johnson, community ambassador with Modell’s. “We do this with other nonprofit organizations.”

The players are leading the campaign to raise money for their rings, said Mike Nardella, who leads the Beverly Football Boosters Association.

“The Boosters will give them some guidance and so forth,” he said. “We wouldn’t fund it, but would help them organize.”

They will manage any money the players raise, which includes $5,000 from a dance they held two weeks before Christmas.

Rings can cost $150 to $200 apiece, Nardella said.

Beverly finished the season at 13-0 when they defeated Natick on Dec. 1, in part by rushing for 347 yards.

“We were ground and pound,” said Kenny Pierce, a captain and one of the running backs. “The offensive line was the biggest part of our offense, opening up holes.”

Looking ahead to this Sunday’s match-up between the Patriots and the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship game, Pierce said he thinks New England’s quarterback gives his team an edge.

“Tom Brady is too much of a competitor to lose,” he said. “He lost last year, and he doesn’t want to lose again.”