High school athletes still look up to Vick - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

High school athletes still look up to Vick

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August 20, 2007

Albany -- Thirty five young men spend hours after school warming up, doing drills and practicing plays on the football field. "I just love the game. I love the contact sport. Anyway, I am a physical person, and I love to run the ball," said running back, Rayshon Mathis.

Many of them with dreams of making it all the way to the NFL. "I want to go as far as I can go. I don't limit myself. Everything is in God's hands," said wide receiver, Antavious Davenport.

A dream developed by watching the athletes such as Michael Vick. "Michael Vick is an incredible player to me," said Mathis.

And this is the image many high school players still hold of Vick, though he now admits he took part in dog fighting. "A lot of people around here are fighting dogs, and they're trying to penalize him for fighting dogs. I pretty much don't understand that," said Mathis. 

"We still are going to look up to him, but he still needs to be held accountable," said Davenport.

Albany High's football coach uses the sport to teach these young men more than just plays. "Its hard sometimes to do what is right over the easy wrong. That's character to me. Doing what we ask when we are not around, even when we don't see," said Reginald Mitchell. 

And these players now look up to Vick in a different way. "It keeps me motivated so that I won't make the same mistake," said Davenport. The type of mistake their coach hopes this game will teach them to avoid.

Prosecutors in Vick's case are recommending a prison sentence of a year to 18 months. He'll officially plead guilty next week.

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