CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Vance Cougars football team claimed their first-ever state title this season, now 12 seniors from that team will be playing football at the collegiate level. 

"It means a lot. I'm just glad I don't gotta make my mom come out of pocket to pay for me to go to college. I get a free education and still get to play football at the next level and just have fun and enjoy the college experience," senior Jaylen Gullatte said.

"It means a lot to me because all my life I've been dreaming of going to college for free, play football, play the game that I love. Also, going to run track fro Lenoir-Rhyne so that's a plus too," senior Jordan Payne explained.

While winning the state championship was a highlight for this team and Coach Glenwood Ferebee, it has been even more rewarding to see his athletes earn opportunities at the next level.

"This is what you do it for as a head football coach. The championships and the wins - those things are great, but to give a kid an opportunity to change his life later on in life is the biggest thing for me, speaking for myself and my staff that's what we focus on. Trying to get the kids out of here and going on to the next level. Based on some of their situations, today's a big day for some of them," Ferebee said.

And although the senior class only had one season with Coach Ferebee, it is one they are forever grateful for.

"My coaches pushed me hard every day in practice, really if it wasn't for them I don't think I'd be here right now," Payne said.

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