JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Could Tuesday have gone any better for Englewood High School's football program?
If so, it's difficult to imagine how.
Not only did the Jacksonville Jaguars surprise the varsity and junior varsity teams with a $100,000 locker room makeover, they also invited them to the Saints game next month. Oh, and former Jaguars cornerback and Englewood alumnus Rashean Mathis paid a visit, too.
The high school teams toured the facility, which was renovated from top to bottom. The renovation includes an air-conditioning system, speaker system, furnishings and flooring. There's also a new equipment room, which is decorated in the Rams' color scheme and stocked with brand new gear.
"This celebration of our 25th season and the NFL's 100th anniversary is a historic milestone for the entire community," said Jaguars President Mark Lamping. "Beyond the touchdowns and fan festivals, we wanted to leave a legacy for the next generation of Jaguars fans and players."
The face-lift was made possible in part by a $50,000 donation from the Jaguars Foundation, as well as more than $80,000 in labor, materials and equipment contributed by a list of nearly two dozen local businesses and Mathis himself, the organization said in a news release.
"I walked these halls, sat in this locker room and grew up in this diverse neighborhood where families sacrifice every day to give their kids the opportunity to succeed," Mathis said. "I'm grateful to the Jaguars and all the community partners for giving these student-athletes this incredibly experience."