Opposing high school football teams come together to prevent violence

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Opposing high school football teams come together to prevent violence. Rick Williams reports during Action News at 6 a.m. on July 29, 2018. (WPVI)

Two opposing local high school football teams in Philadelphia took to the field for a different kind of rivalry, one aimed against violence.

Football players with Frankford High and Boys Latin say they see violence far too often in their communities.

"The violence, it just needs to be stopped someway, somehow," says Frankford High Senior student Omar Darby.

"Outside of football, we all got to get along at some point," says Boys Latin student Malik Johnson.

Because both teams suffered loss due to violence in the past year, their coaches came up with a solution.

"We felt like that because we're around the boys so often that we need to try and do something to give them a better way to handle conflict," says Boys Latin coach Anthony Pastore.

"The goal is simple. Two teams that are rivals, are going to practice together in a regular football practice," says Frankford High School Head Coach Chris Sytsma.

The joint practice was aimed to promote peace, unity and better decision making.

"We don't really do nothing positive around here like this so it was like a nice thing that we are all coming together," says Malik Johnson.

"That split second you pull a trigger, is that split second that you affect a whole family and that you affect a whole community," mother Maxanne Goodin said to the students on the field.

Maxanne lost her son to gun violence last Thanksgiving break.

"He was a senior here at Boys Latin, a 3.5 GPA, he received two college acceptance letters before his death, and he was a football player," she says.

She spoke to the students about making the right choices.

"If someone starts an argument, it's okay to throw your hands up and say you got it and just walk away," she tells the students.

"Basically, this is just a step in the right direction for peace," says Chris Sytsma.

"We're two separate high schools, two separate football programs, today we're one," Anthony Pastore adds.

"It shows you can play in peace, and live together in peace," says Maxanne Goodin.

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