The Wauseon football team is donning new Xenith helmets this year thanks to a donation by the Cleveland Browns. The helmets were delivered to the school on Thursday, Aug. 18, one day prior to the Indians’ first game against Fairview.
The Browns give away new helmets to two high schools in the state every year, and for over 12 years now Wauseon residents Rick Stidham and Mike Avina have been applying for Wauseon to be one of the schools chosen.
“You throw your name in a hat is basically what you’re doing,” said Stidham, a Browns season ticket holder and one of the co-founders of the Wauseon Youth Football League.
Both he and Avina’s dedication paid off when Wauseon was selected as one of the winners of the contest this year.
A total of 88 helmets were awarded to the Wauseon program. In addition, 20 of the 88 are “ducktail” helmets costing roughly $800 apiece.
Stidham estimates the total cost of the helmets in a range of $25,000 to $35,000.
“We were fortunate and we were blessed this year,” Stidham said. “Wauseon got picked, and it was a blessing for the kids, it was a blessing for the school district. And I just think it’s great for everybody that’s involved.
“I think it’s a beautiful thing.”