The Fenton High (Fenton, Mi.) junior varsity football team was busy preparing for an afternoon practice when something much more important happened: A younger child asked for their help. They obliged, and helped a fellow Fenton student feel safer in the process.
As reported by Detroit TV network WXYZ and MLive.com, among other sources, the Fenton junior varsity team was just arriving at the school's field at 3:30 on Tuesday for the day's afternoon practice when they were approached by a panicking student from the nearby middle school. According to Fenton police chief Rick Aro, the boy was playing with a football by himself when a man in a van pulled over near him and approached him.
Terrified, the middle schooler took off toward the field, where the Fenton players immediately sprung into action. A group of the players stepped in between the unidentified man and the boy, immediately telling the oncoming adult to leave. He turned and ran back toward his vehicle, but the players were able to capture a picture of his license plates on their smart phones and gave police a visual identification of the suspect.
Hours later police had the man in custody and were questioning him about the incident, all thanks to the work of a group of teens who stepped forward when they saw danger coming the way of a fellow Fenton resident.
"I wasn't at the field when this happened but obviously the boy felt threatened or scared of what was going on and our players did an excellent job of recognizing that," Fenton athletic director Mike Baaker told MLive.com. "In my conversations with the students and with police of what went on, I couldn't be more impressed.
"Basically, it comes down to there was a young student on our campus who didn't feel safe and [the football players] took it upon themselves to make him feel safe. They were absolutely great."
In the end, the 45-year-old man claimed that he was simply trying to ask the younger boy if he wanted to play catch. Quite naturally, the boy thought he was trying to take advantage of him in his van.
Mistaken intention or not, the Fenton police department made it clear that the boys had acted heroically out of pure instinct.
"I thought they did a real good job of not being overly zealous," Aro said. "They intervened without being violent. They were a real big help and I was real proud of them."
- Crime & Justice
- American Football