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The Gators rally for one of their own

Published: Sep. 10, 2020 at 10:31 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG) -Beyond football, another reason to perhaps take in the Franklin-Wewa game Friday. The folks at Wewahitchka will be rallying around one of their own, assistant head football coach, Gene Rollins. He’s a Blountstown native who’s coached alongside Bobby Johns going on 17 years.

Rollins has been at Shands in Gainesville the last several weeks awaiting a heart transplant. He is now in the C-ICU. Tomorrow night, all the proceeds of the concessions from Friday’s game will go to the Rollins family to help with all the bills.

“We don’t have the ability to help him a whole lot in other ways in the middle of football season,” said Coach Johns. “We can’t go to bake sales. We can’t do other fundraisers, so this was our chance as a team and a program to try and do something to help and to bring some awareness to his situation. You know it has really helped because we’ve had people from other communities that he and I have worked in that have now reached out wanting to know what they can do to get involved. Wanting to know how they can help. So that’s what we kind of wanted to come out of the things on Facebook, the things with you guys, and then also the game on Friday night.”

Coach Johns going on to say that not having Rollins around has been hard for him.

“Back behind the scenes stuff that he does is just unimaginable. He takes care of all the laundry. He takes care of all the field mowing. He takes care of all the water and sideline preparations, all that kind of stuff. He’s done that everywhere we have ever been. The things he does for us are immeasurable. I’m feeling it right now with him gone because it’s all left to me to do now. I have to rely on him sending me text messages telling me how to wash the jerseys, how to set the sideline up, and those kind of things,” said Johns.

However, Coach Rollins has emphasized that he wants his players to win for themselves, not him.

“He’s been really, really adamant that he did not want us using his situation or him as reasons to succeed or reasons to win. He wants the kids to focus and motivate themselves. He doesn’t want to be a distraction of any kind. We don’t have the ability to help him a whole lot in other ways. In the middle of football season, we can’t go to bake sales. We can’t do other fundraisers, so this was our chance as a team and as a program to try to do something to help and bring awareness to his situation,” said Johns.

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