MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - After mentoring young men through the game of football in a gang prevention program in North Carolina. Southern Sports Academy head coach Chris Jones is trying to do the same with a new program at the Beach.
"My son ran track down here at the Doug Shaw Stadium. He said dad, why don't you just bring a team down here. So that's what we did,"said SSA head coach Chris Jones.
In its first year, 45 athletes from around the state and southeast are seeking a second chance to prove themselves on the field.
"They simply come out of their high schools and may not have the grades. May take an injury their senior year. Or simply just need to get bigger, faster, and stronger. So it truly is a second chance for a lot of these young men," SSA offensive coordinator Rod Lorick said.
Local players, Hudson Cooke from Socastee, Carolina Forest's Hunter Williams, and former North Myrtle Beach Chief Ronnie Bass have embraced their new opportunity.
"The second chance is everything to me. This is my important passion in my life. I love the sport of football. I love how you play it," said SSA quarterback Ronnie Bass.
Bass and his new teammates are enrolled at Horry Georgetown Technical College. Along with their playbooks, they have to keep up with the grades. If they help themselves, coaches will help them in return.
"Once they keep up the 2.5 (g.p.a.). Then we can send them off. Send their tapes off and stuff like that. To a D1, D2, NAIA, anyone like that," said Chris Jones.
Juco prep programs are popping up all over the country. Southern Sports Academy is just the latest to help young athletes in their efforts of reaching the goal line.
"A lot of young me need these programs. They simply need a little bit of extra help to get to that four year institution and reach their goal," Rod Lorick said.
The Southern Sports Academy Panthers begin the season on September 2nd against Little Sports Academy at Doug Shaw Stadium.
Copyright 2017 WMBF News. All rights reserved.