KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Members of the community and Northview Academy parents are singing the praises of the Austin-East football team after their display of kindness and sportsmanship in the middle of an emergency situation during their homecoming game.
An emergency evacuation from the Austin East football field in the middle of their homecoming game wasn’t what anyone expected. Northview Academy parent Nichole Kuznicki says they thought it was a lightning delay at first.
It was a shooting near the school. It happened off-campus, but it was close enough that there was a temporary pause of the game. The players weren’t in immediate danger, but they were ushered into the locker room out of an abundance of caution.
“We didn’t know what was going on,” said Northview Academy football player, Deion Dukes. “The coaches and the players reassured us and told us nothing was going to happen, we were going to be safe and sound.”
During a short period of uncertainty, the AE Roadrunners made their Northview Academy opponents feel safe. “They were being just really kind. Especially to me,” Dukes said.
The game eventually resumed, but that didn’t stop the camaraderie and sportsmanship.
“At the end of the game, they all came up to us and they walked us to our buses, they formed a line from where we drop off our football gear in the trailer and they made sure all of us got on our buses safe,” Dukes said.
Tanisha Baker, an AE parent, was standing nearby and captured the moment. She shared the photo on her Facebook page.
“I really wanted to take an opportunity to highlight the positive and show the greatness that lies within our community and particularly with our students because that picture showed sportsmanship, citizenship, respect, resiliency and it captured a lot and I really wanted to get that message out,” Baker said.
Baker says this is the AE she knows and loves and wants to highlight the greatness inside the school.
“I want people to pay more attention to the bright spots to the bright and shining stars there. During that moment, I was really able to capture the real ae as we would like to say,” Baker said.
Parents of Northview Academy say they were grateful for the kindness the team showed during the game and even after winning.
“Their kind gesture did not go unnoticed. They went out of their way to be kind and you don’t have to do that in this day and age and they really made a difference for our team that night for sure,” Kuznicki said.