Flag football event set to benefit Bethel coach

Mar. 16—Bethel Middle School is hosting a fundraising flag football event to raise money for Coach Brandon Allen.

Allen is a Haywood County native and grew up in the Bethel area. After playing football at the high school level, he ended up going into the coaching ranks.

Eventually, after a stop at Tuscola, he found his way to the Bethel football coaching job.

"He gave them a better season than they've had in years," said Casey Cantrell, who is helping organize the event. "He's grown their entire athletic program in general. The kids absolutely love him. He's a very religious person. He's a very good influence on the kids."

However, after dealing with the flu, Allen went into kidney failure.

Now, the coach is having to have dialysis treatments three times a week — treatments that cost thousands of dollars each time.

"He and his wife are both teachers," Cantrell said. "They don't have a ton of money. He's having to take time off because it's an eight-hour treatment."

The community that Allen loves wanted to help. Many of the eighth grade boys who Allen has coached have been leading the charge.

That includes Cantrell's son.

"When my kid found this out, he asked how old he had to be to donate a kidney to him," she said. "Our kids just really love him. I felt like this was the least we could do for him."

Now, the entire community is rolling out their support for the coach. That includes coaches from Pisgah High School who are helping out.

"He gives so much time and he is there for those kids day in and day out," Cantrell said. "The least we could do is try to ease the financial burden for them."

There will be an in-person sign-up event for the flag football benefit this weekend at the Bethel football field. Sign-ups will be held on March 17 from 2 to 4 p.m.

Competitors must be school age — from kindergarten through 12th grade.

Registration costs $100 per team with a maximum team size of nine.

The event itself will take place on April 27 and will begin at 9 a.m. Depending on the number of teams, games may be stretched across multiple fields.