ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - Hearing Peyton Manning speak of the East Thunderbird football team seems like a prize enough on its own, but for the Anchorage prep program it was just the beginning.
Chosen as one of just ten programs across America, the East High School football team earned a $10,000 grant from Riddell for their efforts in implementing safety on the football field.
In a custom message to the team, Manning says ""I was excited when I heard about the Thunderbird program, your team exemplifies what smarter football is."
Led by head coach Jeff Trotter, the Thunderbirds have been practicing "Hawk Tackling", a technique taken from the Seattle Seahawks that teaches proper heads-up tackling.
In a press release, Riddell also shares that East has been implementing healthy living guidelines as well, encouraging players to eat properly, stay hydrated, plus teaching injury prevention and management techniques.
You can watch the personalized message recorded by Manning below, were he commends the East High Thunderbirds, and congratulates them on their funding prize.