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A Newton-Conover Red Devil is jumping from Gurley Stadium to Bank of America Stadium. Lineman Mike Comer is one of 10 high school athletes from the Carolinas on the field at halftime Dec. 19 as part of the Carolina Panthers Community Captain Program.
â€śThis means a lot,â€ť Comer said. â€śOnly 10 people out of North and South Carolina get the award. So, itâ€™s a pretty big deal.â€ť
The Community Captain program honors high school athletes with dedication to their sport as well as commit to improving their education while showing potential to excel.
Newton-Conover head coach Nick Bazzle said he nominated Comer for the award because he shows good character, leadership ability, hard work, and is an â€śall-around good kid.â€ť
Comer was named to the Catawba Valley 2-Aâ€™s 2010 all-conference football team, and is a Red Club Champion. The Red Club is a weight-lifting and academic challenge, at least 1,200 pounds on four different lifts and a 3.0 GPA, for football players at Newton-Conover. Comer lifted 1,300 pounds and has a 4.21 weighted, 3.6 unweighted, GPA, including a 95 average in AP Biology.
Lenoir-Rhyne and three other colleges in the South Atlantic Conference talked with Comer about playing football, but he hasnâ€™t received an offer.
â€śAnytime a player is selected for something like this, I think this far outweighs other awards,â€ť Bazzle said. â€śWhen you get selected for this, there is so much more that goes into it than just being a good football player. It says more about character.â€ť
His character was tested when Comer missed two games with an injury. He said he tried to keep the crowd in games and pump up teammates.
The senior lineman does not just focus his energy on the field and in the classroom. He volunteered during summer at an animal shelter in Catawba County walking dogs, cleaning pins and feeding and bathing them.
â€śIt was enjoyable,â€ť Comer said. â€śIt just took to me helping animals out even if I couldnâ€™t give them a home. Iâ€™m just trying to make their stay happy.â€ť