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High school football team that beat the odds gets deserving surprises

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(NEW YORK) — Cardinal Hayes High School’s football team is the definition of a ray of sunshine!

Once called one of the “worst teams,” the players overcame the odds to win the New York State Catholic High School State Championship in December 2023, becoming the first New York City team in history to do so.

The young players have had to contend with multiple challenges — from an outdoor home field that’s smaller than regulation size and an outdoor weight room caked in rust to an

Despite their hurdles, Cardinal Hayes’ head football coach CJ O’Neil told “Good Morning America” the students “battled” and made do with what they had.

Added Cardinal Hayes President Michael Carey: “We’re located in the poorest congressional district in the nation. Most of the students come from the surrounding area. One thing we’re guaranteed is we’re gonna get knocked down. The question is how we respond.”

To celebrate their achievements so far and to support the deserving students, “Good Morning America” teamed up with several partners to give the dedicated players a few surprises, including college offers for two students.

Riddell teamed up with “GMA” to surprise the football team with new equipment worth over $30,000.

Nike gifted new cleats for every team member of the team.

Bank of America is also supporting the football team with a generous gift of $50,000.

Last but not least, the New York Giants offered pre-season tickets to members of the Cardinal Hayes High School football team.

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