There are plenty of two-sport prep athletes, but football and cheerleading? That's a first.
That's precisely what Armand Fernandez-Pierre is doing for Dallas (Tx.) Episcopal School of Dallas. And Fernandez-Pierre isn't just an undersized utility player who wanted to suit up; he's a 335-pound defensive lineman who was actively recruited to join ESD's football squad from the cheerleading team.
According to MyFoxDFW, Fernandez-Pierre was recruited to the squad by ESD head football coach Clayton Sanders, who saw the teen as a unique opportunity to add a massive athletic lineman to his squad. Fernandez-Pierre wasn't a newcomer to the sport, playing throughout his youth until he injured his neck as an eighth grader and decided it was time to find a new sport.
That sport turned out to be cheerleading, where ESD cheer coach Eric Daboa welcomed the giant with open arms.
The lineman enjoyed his time cheering on the sidelines so much that he was initially reluctant to return to football, even as the school's varsity coach was actively wooing him. Eventually he gave in to Sanders, with one caveat: He had to be allowed to continue cheering at halftime of the school's football games.
That's precisely what happened in ESD's 41-0 rout of Dallas (Tx.) John Paul II School in the season's first game. It'll be repeated on Friday against Dallas (Tx.) Brock School as well.
"We fought tooth and nail to keep him just on our team and our sideline," Eric Daboa told MyFoxDFW. "But we realized what a good athlete he is and understand the opportunities that he would have with football."
Don't think that just because Fernandez-Pierre is a cheerleader that he's not tough enough for football. Here's what the senior told MyFoxDFW is his favorite part about playing the sport:
"When it comes to football I love being able to be, I guess -- how could you say it -- brutal."
You can see Fernandez-Pierre in action at the nose tackle position in the video above. He's wearing number 72, in case anyone had a hard time picking out the most massive and athletic lineman on the field. With his athleticism, it's not a stretch to think that Fernandez-Pierre really might have a future in football, and so far the University of Miami and and UCLA seem to agree.
If football doesn't work out, there's little question that plenty of collegiate cheer squads would love to have a 355-pounder hoisting fellow cheerleaders and tossing them in the air.
- Sports & Recreation
- American Football
- Episcopal School of Dallas