Hundreds 'cover the field' to support praying Apopka football team
Atheist foundation sent complaint saying coaches were committing constitutional violation
APOPKA, Fla. – It's a tradition of faith that parents and students at Apopka High School refuse to break. A defeated football team "covered the field" in prayer Friday night.
"Even though we lost tonight, no matter what, we will always give glory to God," said Gavin Johnson over the megaphone.
He was surrounded by his team and hundreds of people from the community.
"We're going to fight for what we believe in and we're going to stand for it," said Amy Moore, who helped organize the demonstration by spreading the message on Facebook.
The atheist Freedom From Religion Foundation sent a complaint to the Orange County School Board saying the coaches were committing a serious constitutional violation by praying with the team.
It also had an issue with the chaplain, Todd Lamphere, who has been with the team for 15 years.
Before the season started, the district sent out a memo, saying coach and chaplain-led prayer had to stop.
"Our purpose here is to really encourage kids, to give them hope, and to let them know that they have a future," said Lamphere.
The debate on who can and cannot pray with high school sports teams is exploding on social media.
Retired Florida State University football coach Bobby Bowden shared a message on his Facebook page, saying, "My best wishes to those who will 'cover the field' tonight in Apopka, FL. It's good to see people stand up for what they believe."
The parents plan on voicing their concerns at the next school board meeting.
"That's what Apopka is about. Apopka is about representing the Lord, going out there and playing a great game, and just giving it your all -- no matter what you never give up, you always give it your all," said Moore.
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