HAMDEN, Conn. (WTNH) -- They teach boys and girls to build things over at Eli Whitney Technical High School and now the school is building a football team from the ground up.
"They're unsure about a lot of stuff and they're still coming out," said Head Coach Victor Cooper. "They running and exhausted and still coming out, they have to keep up in the class room and they're still coming out, they're willing to make that sacrifice."
"I've been waiting for this my whole life," said quarterback Shawn Rouse.
The first line in their blueprint has been drawn as finally, Eli Whitney Tech in Hamden has a football team.
"I see people who graduated in 2003 go 'We got a football team now,'" Rouse said. "Yeah, I'm the QB and it feels good to say that."
The team is made up of future carpenters, plumbers, electricians and other tradesmen. Starting at the ground floor is nothing new to them.
"I feel good, I can be a building block," said player Pha'rod Goodjohn.
"Is it harder than you thought," asked News 8's John Pierson.
"Yes, because it's the first year I'm playing high school football," he replied.
That's the challenge for Cooper, the architect of the program. A former college player at UNH, Cooper teaches math and now football at Whitney Tech.
"There's a lot of kids out here that are first time in three-point stance, so a lot of teaching of the basics, plus some football," Cooper said.
"We look good in practice, but we need to take that and put it on the field in a game," said Goodjohn.
Getting to the field has been a process. They needed players, got it. They needed equipment, got it. They needed some competition, and they got that too.
Football is all part of a bigger plan.
"It's great for the school, because we're trying to permeate not just on the field, but in the classroom the culture of the building that there are some positive things going on," Cooper explained.
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