TRM plans Legacy Game events and flag football game Thursday
When T.R. Miller Tigers take the field against Southside Selma Friday night, their new black jerseys will carry the names of loved ones who have been affected by cancer.
The second annual Legacy Game — played on homecoming — will help raise money for the Yancey Jernigan Foundation, itself named for a former T.R. Miller player who battled cancer.
The Jernigan Foundation helps Escambia County residents with expenses related to cancer treatment.
“We have partnered with the Jernigan Foundation and we are going to run it similar to the way we did it last year,” Riggs said. “Our players have someone they are playing for and that person is someone who has been affected by cancer. That person can be someone who has passed away because of cancer, someone who has had cancer and recovered from it, or someone who presently has cancer. Because that is obviously what the Jernigan Foundation deals with.
“Like last year when our players collected some funds in honor or memory of a former player, this year we are going to play someone who has dealt with cancer.”
T.R. Miller head coach Jamie Riggs said Emmie Jernigan, who established the foundation in her husband’s name after his death in July 2011, brought the idea to him.
Jernigan said her husband was 42 when doctors found bile duct cancer.
He was given three months to live, but lived for 15 months.
The foundation provides limited financial support for medicine and pharmacy costs, helps with hotel rooms and transportation costs as well as research funding for doctors. As the foundation grows, Jernigan said, she plans to do more and homecoming activities this year will play a big role.
“In addition to the game, it will allow the Foundation to receive the funds,” Riggs said. “Another thing is I hope it will publicize the Foundation and the work they do.
“Also, we have already been able to use it for an educational tool and to help educate the team about cancer and things they can do to limit their cancer risk. Emmie came and spoke to our players at the end of school. I think it is going to be some good to come out of this.”
The Legacy Game is set for Oct. 11, with a flag football game the Thursday night before on Oct. 10.
“We are going to do it on the weekend that we do homecoming,” Riggs said. “Thursday night, we are going to do the touch football game for the former players. We are also going to have a ceremony to tie into the game with the players and some of the families they are playing for. The band and cheerleaders are involved too. They have their own things they are going to do. I think the band is getting t-shirts and will do a special halftime show. I hope to have a lot of people involved and maybe make this a community thing and get the community together to support those people who have suffered from this because I think everyone has been affected by cancer.
“It should be a great weekend,” Riggs said. “We are excited about all that we have planned for homecoming. We will have a spaghetti supper for our team Thursday night at 5:30 p.m. The touch football game will be at 7 p.m. and at halftime the Jernigan Foundation will do a ceremony and have all the players out in their jerseys and they will have a ceremony with the people they are playing for. The special jerseys will be worn Friday night during the game. Homecoming is always a big event here always. It is a lot better when we win the game.”
Emmie Jernigan with Yancey Jernigan Foundation said the events this week would be special.
“Thursday night is an alumni game and we are actually having Tiger Talk broadcast live from the field from 5 to 6 p.m. and we want as many people as can to come out to that,” she said. “The alumni football players are going to have a flag football game on the practice field and we are also going to have some alumni cheerleaders. That evening the football team will come over in their jerseys and we will tell who they are playing for and family members are welcome to come and have their pictures taken with the players in their jerseys. We have some special guests and some special events that will happen later that night and I just think it is going to be a special evening. We would love for people to come out and support it.”
Jernigan said the idea was Riggs’.
“He just won 275 games, and this is his legacy in giving back to our community, and I can’t stress that enough,” Jernigan said. “He has really encouraged these boys and this football team has already raised $6,200 for this foundation by themselves with no sponsors. That is an incredible amount of money for a football team to raise. I went to speak to them and coach Riggs spoke to them, but it is really great to see kids get involved the way they did. I just think they are a unique group. They are winning and we are proud of them, but they have big hearts.”
Jernigan said each player was asked to raise $100 in honor or in memory of someone they are playing for.
“I think there are 66 players and those players went out to earn that $6,200,” she said. “That is certainly over and beyond. I think some of it is because Yancey coached some of them in Little League, but it is really a unique group of boys and they are good kids. Friday night is homecoming and the actual Legacy Game and the kids will play. They will be wearing the jerseys and with T.R. Miller football we do not have names on the back of our jerseys. We all play for T.R. Miller and as a team, but Friday night they will have the names of someone affected by cancer on the backs of their jerseys.”
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