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GS Football lends helping hand to Athletes In Action
Athletes in action


The 2017 football season won’t top the list of memories for any Georgia Southern fan. But there was a highlight here and there to give people hope, even if they wanted to smack the rest of the season with a folding chair.


In one of the few good moments of last season, a video clip of Chad Lunsford - then the interim head coach and now holding the official title - showed him celebrating the team’s second win of the season by slamming a folding chair to the ground. Then, drawing on the showmanship of professional wrestling, he jutted out an elbow and dropped to the ground, delivering a death blow to the fallen metal chair.


The wrestling motif quickly caught on as a persona within the revamped coaching staff at Georgia Southern. The team rallied around the viral video at the end of the rough year and social media was flooded with hundreds of wrestling-themed pictures, memes and gifs to highlight each big signing during the recruiting season.


And now the hype has finally dragged Georgia Southern into the ring.


On Saturday evening, Georgia Southern defensive line coach Victor Cabral will step into the ring as part of the highlight matchup for American Premier Wrestling’s ‘Summer Steam’ event. The event will be held at the NeSmith Lane Building, with doors opening at 5 p.m.


All proceeds raised will go directly to Georgia Southern’s Athletes In Action program.


“We constantly push our student athletes to grow physically and academically, but we also want them to grow spiritually,” GS Director of Character Development Matt Wise said. “Each spring, our Athletes In Action group goes on a mission trip. Not only to they do a lot to help people in a different part of the world - that work and service continues to make an impression on our athletes and gives them perspective on how they live their lives.”


Wise and Cabral were former teammates for Georgia Southern. Wise has served Eagle student athletes in sports ministry for over a decade since concluding his playing days. Cabral went into the coaching realm following his time with the Eagles and was one of the first additions to the GS staff following Lunsford’s permanent appointment as head coach in December of 2017. 


The two friends are committed to rebuilding the Eagles’ success on the football field, but are just as adamant about building up players’ lives off the field. 


“We are all committed to Matt and the missions that Athletes In Action does,” Cabral said. “We wanted to find a way as a team to help support it. A few months ago, we had some guys go to an APW event and things just kind of clicked.


“We have a lot of fun with social media and with hyping everyone up with the wrestling stuff. We developed this program called Summer Steam and it’s going to be a great and entertaining event for everyone.”


The Georgia Southern chapter of Athletes In Action has gone from Miami to Nicaragua. Last spring’s trip took the Eagles to Cuba, where Lunsford and his family joined in the effort.


Georgia Southern has earned a Sun Belt Community Impact Award for its efforts and wants to ensure that there will always be an opportunity for its student athletes to have the opportunity to give back while also getting a new view of the world.


“These kids work so hard on their academics and with performing on the field,” Wise said. “A lot of them don’t have jobs or the financial means to fund a trip like this. But they still want to do the work, so we want to find a way to raise the money to help them do that.”


Cabral’s contributions to the fundraising will come from his efforts inside the ring. He’ll team up with ‘Big Country’ to do battle with Young DC and Tommy Nero.

 

Kickoff for Georgia Southern’s 2018 season is just over a month away and the team has plenty to prove in looking to bounce back from a rough 2017 campaign, but Cabral seems to have at least one other thing occupying his mind this week.


“It started out as a fun thing, but then I got dropped through a table last Saturday night,” Cabral said. “Nero and Young DC crossed a major line. We’re going to demolish them on Saturday night. And I want everyone to see it. Eagle Nation should show up, because we’re going to show out.”