By Kyle LoJacono
When the Wesley Chapel football team started practice in August it had a numbers problem.
The Wildcats had plenty of players tryout for the squad. In fact, it had 100 — 20 more than the number of helmets they had.
“We have to replace 20 helmets next year and we only have 80,” said Wesley Chapel football coach Ben Alford. “We had 100 kids out for football this year, and I hate to turn away kids because we don’t have equipment. Football is something that I believe helps all young men, regardless of skill level, become better young men. I would love to be able to keep all kids rather than cut them off the team.”
The story was similar with shoulder pads and other equipment, so Heritage Ford in Wesley Chapel is bringing the Drive One 4UR School program to help raise money for the team.
“We know funding for school programs is hard to come by, and we want to do our part to help make sure these programs remain available,” said Jennifer Cofini, community relations manager at Heritage Ford. “We’re excited to raise money for Wesley Chapel High School.”
The dealership will donate $20 to the Wildcats football program for everyone who test-drives a new Ford vehicle, up to $6,000 total. It will give an additional $20 for every new Focus driven, up to another $2,000.
Jarrett Ford in Dade City has a similar event each year to support Zephyrhills and Pasco high schools. Alford was thrilled to hear the event was coming to Wesley Chapel.
“I thought it was great,” Alford said. “It is a great opportunity for us to create new relationships within the Wesley Chapel community.”
Heritage will have personnel available to answer any questions about the vehicles.
“Whether you are looking to test out our larger vehicles, like the Explorer or F-150, or more interested in a smaller sedan, like the Focus, we will be able to put you behind the wheel of your favorite Ford vehicle,” said Rich Dearborn, Heritage Ford general manager.
The event is at Wesley Chapel High, 30651 Wells Road, on Thursday, Oct. 20 from 3-8 p.m. The date coincides with the squad’s home game against Hudson, where the players will be raising awareness about breast cancer. There will also be Halloween entertainment for children at 6 p.m.
“We are trying to turn the program around, and we really need the community’s support to do that,” Alford said. “On Oct. 20 you can come out to Wesley Chapel High School and test drive a Ford, trick or treat around the track and also be able to support breast cancer awareness. This will be a big night for us. I am donating half of my concession stand proceeds to the American Cancer Society. So I encourage all to come out and enjoy the night.”
Drive One 4UR School event
Where: Wesley Chapel High, 30651 Wells Road
When: Thursday, Oct. 20
The event coincides with the Wesley Chapel football game against Hudson. Heritage Ford will donate $20 for everyone who test drives a new Ford vehicle.