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Stoneman Douglas hockey team wins state championship

The ice hockey team at Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School won a state title Sunday, 11 days after a gunman killed 14 students and three teachers at the school.

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Stoneman Douglas senior Joey Zenobi told WBBH-TV that the team was playing for the victims of the Valentine’s Day shooting.

“We came into the game knowing we had to give it our all to get the win, and that’s what we did,” Zenobi told the news station. “This wasn’t for us, this was for the 17 victims. We played for them.”

>> Related: Florida school shooting: What we know about the victims

Some team members dyed their hair yellow in honor of Joaquin Oliver, a friend of theirs who died in the Feb. 14 mass shooting.

“We almost didn’t even come here, because we didn’t know if we wanted to play or not,” senior Ronnie Froetschel told WBBH-TV. “I’m just glad to be alive.”

>> Related: Florida school shooting survivors return to campus, try to resume normalcy

The fourth-seeded Eagles upset top-seeded East Lake High School in an elimination game Sunday before routing Tampa’s Jesuit High School 7-4 later in the day to win the Lightning High School Hockey League Tier 1 state title, according to ESPN.

Officials with Jesuit High School congratulated the Stoneman Douglas team on Twitter after the win.

“The SD players endured unimaginable tragedy at their school, and now they will bring a state title back to their grieving community,” school officials said.

Stoneman Douglas senior Matthew Horowitz told WBBH-TV that the team was awarded 17 medals, one for each player on the ice. He said the team plans to bring the medals back to the school to honor each of the 17 shooting victims.

The ice hockey league is sponsored by Statewide Amateur Hockey of Florida, according to ESPN.

Texas transgender wrestler wins second straight state title 

A transgender wrestler from Texas successfully defended his Class 6A girls championship Saturday night, WFAA reported

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Mack Beggs, from Euless Trinity near Dallas, improved to 36-0, capping his season with a 15-3 victory against Chelsea Sanchez of Morton Ranch High school. Beggs, 18, also defeated Sanchez last season in the 110-pound division, WFAA reported.

Last year, a parent filed a lawsuit to prevent Beggs from wrestling in the female division.

Beggs began transitioning from female to male a few years ago by using testosterone, which was the reason the lawsuit was filed, WFAA reported. But according to the Texas University Interscholastic League, it is not a banned substance since it comes from a physician.

>> Transgender wrestler will defend state title in Texas

A state law passed in 2016 says that athletes must compete as the gender listed on their birth certificates, WFAA reported.. 

Marco Karem, Beggs’ father, told WFAA that his son’s achievement was an inspiration.“He inspires a lot of people, and if he can help just one person -- then it’s worth it to Mack,” Karem said.

Mack Beggs heard several boos and jeers during the state final but shrugged it off, WFAA reported.

"I don't care, I gave my all in that match," he said. "You put me in front of anybody and I'll wrestle them.

"Each time I read comments, they all say the same thing about steroids. It all comes down to technique and who has the most heart."

Beggs is considering a men’s wrestling scholarship in college and is hoping to schedule a time for his “top surgery” by a doctor in Plano, The Dallas Morning News reported. 

He also wants to train for the Olympics. Both the NCAA and the Olympics have rules in place that allow athletes to compete as the gender they identify with, WFAA reported. 

12 charged in high school basketball brawl

Twelve people, including students and adults, will be charged in connection with a fight at a Pennsylvania high school basketball game earlier this month, police said.

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They face disorderly conduct charges.

Clairton police released details about the Feb. 6 brawl at Clairton High School between Clairton and Monessen.

Police said it began as a fight between two players and escalated from there.

Eight teenagers and four adults are charged. All are from Clairton and Monessen, police said.

In a news release, officers said they offered victims a chance to come forward to sort out who was involved in the fight, but no one did, so they used surveillance video to figure out who to charge.

The charges come after WPIAL officials decided to suspend players who left the benches for one game and put both schools on unprecedented five-year probations.

Monessen is appealing that decision.

Transgender wrestler will defend state title in Texas

A transgender wrestler from Texas will be defending the Class 6A girls championship at next week’s state tournament, WFAA reported.

>> Read more trending news

On Saturday, Mack Beggs, 18, of Euless Trinity will compete for a 6A Region II tournament title, which will determine bracket seeding for the state tournament. The top four finishers in each weight class advance.

Last year, a parent filed a lawsuit to prevent Beggs from wrestling in the female division.

Beggs began transitioning from female to male a few years ago by using testosterone, which was the reason the lawsuit was filed, WFAA reported. But according to the Texas University Interscholastic League, it is not a banned substance since it comes from a physician.

A state law passed in 2016 says that athletes must compete as the gender listed on their birth certificates, WFAA reported.

The state wrestling tournament will be in Cypress next week. Beggs is 29-0 this season and hopes to defend the state title he won last year.

Beggs is considering a men’s wrestling scholarship in college and is hoping to schedule a time for his “top surgery” by a doctor in Plano, The Dallas Morning News reported. 

"I know it's going to happen," Beggs told the Morning News "But if I stress about it too much, then I'm going to stress about it, so I'm just going with the flow."

Florida school shooting: Football coach shot, killed while protecting students hailed as hero

UPDATE, 5:19 a.m. EST Thursday: Aaron Feis, an assistant football coach and security guard at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, has died after being wounded in a deadly mass shooting Wednesday, the team tweeted early Thursday.

“It is with great sadness that our football family has learned about the death of Aaron Feis,” the team wrote. “He was our assistant football coach and security guard. He selflessly shielded students from the shooter when he was shot. He died a hero and he will forever be in our hearts and memories.”

>> See the tweet here

ORIGINAL STORY: An assistant football coach reportedly was shot while protecting students during a deadly mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

Aaron Feis is being celebrated as a hero, according to the Miami Herald, citing tributes to the coach and reports on social media.

>> MORE: Live updatesPhoto gallery | Who is Nikolas Cruz?

Seventeen were killed and many more were injured in Wednesday's shooting. A gunman, whom police identified as 19-year-old former student Nikolas De Jesus Cruz, opened fire on students in the afternoon.

When the shooting started, Feis – a school security guard, as well – reportedly stepped between the shooter and students, taking bullets in the act. He was reportedly hospitalized in critical condition.

Douglas football player Charlie Rothkopf tweeted that his coach “took [several] bullets covering other students at Douglas.”

The Miami Herald reported that Feis is a 1999 graduate of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

>> Read more trending news 

“He is a friend to all students that know him,” wrote Angelica Losada, who identified herself as a former student at the school. “Please, take a moment to send healing prayers for him.”

Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said “a football coach” had died in the shooting. It is not clear if Israel was referring to Feis.

California prep basketball player with Down syndrome scores first basket

A California teenager with Down syndrome had a memorable senior night, scoring his first career basket in his first appearance in a game, KMPH reported.

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Jack Welsh was introduced last on Feb. 8 as Reedley High School honored its seniors.

“The heart and soul of Reedley,” Pirates football coach Brandon Nagle said. "That would explain Jack right there."

When the game began, Welsh posted up and connected for a basket, prompting the student section to rush the court to congratulate him, KMPH reported.

“You want to cry," said Jack's father, John Welsh. “You know, we didn't know anything about it, so, it really took us by surprise.”

For three years, Jack Welsh has been a part of the Reedley basketball, football and baseball teams, Basketball coach Travis Ferrell said inserting Welsh into the lineup was a great way to celebrate his high school career.

“He comes to all of our practices. He brings energy that sometimes our players don't bring, and we feed off of him,” Ferrell told KMPH. “So to me, it was the least we could do to have this type of celebration on senior night.”

“To see the joy in his face and to experience what all these boys have experienced for four years -- he's like any other boy," John Welsh told KMPH. “He wants to participate.”

Jerry Jones’ grandson rallies team to Texas state high school football title

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones celebrated another championship Friday night, but it wasn’t his NFL team that made him proud.

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It was his grandson, quarterback John Stephen Jones, who rallied Highland Park to a 53-49 victory against Manvel in the UIL Class 5A Division I finale at AT&T Stadium -- the home of the Cowboys. Jones’ heroics gave Highland Park back-to-back state titles, and he became the first quarterback to throw for more than 500 yards in a Texas state title game, ESPN reported.

The 5-foot-10, 180-pounder passed for 564 yards and four touchdowns, rallying Highland Park from a 10-point deficit with three minutes to play. Jones, who was 37-for-58, completed a 16-yard touchdown pass to Cade Saustad -- his 61st of the season -- with 34 seconds left. Jones also completed a 28-yard pass on fourth-and-15 to keep the drive alive, ESPN reported.

Highland Park (15-1), the winningest team in state history with 816 victories, won back-to-back state titles for the first time and its fifth overall, The Dallas Morning News reported.

The Scots also won titles in 1945 (shared with Waco), 1957, 2005 and 2016.

“We beat some great football teams to get here, and this was probably the best one tonight,” Highland Park coach Randy Allen told the Morning News. “John Stephen is a great competitor, and he kept telling everybody on the bench that we've just got to keep coming back.”

Highland Park trailed 49-39 with three minutes to play.

“It shows we have no quit. We'll never count ourselves out,” Jones told the Morning News. “It's really special.”

Highland Park had to survive a late scare, as Manvel’s Jalen Preston was wrestled down at the 1-yard line after a 30-yard reception as time ran out.

Jerry Jones congratulated Manvel coach Kirk Martin after the game.

“He just told me what a great job we did,” Martin told the Morning News. “One second and 1 yard short. That was the difference.”

Panthers' Thomas Davis donates $15K for high school state championship rings

Carolina Panthers defensive linebacker Thomas Davis has made a huge donation to help the Harding University High School football team get its players and coaches championship rings.

>> Read more trending news

Davis confirmed he donated $15,000 to the team in a tweet to WSOC-TV anchor John Paul.

The football team finished its 14-1 season with a 30-22 win over Scotland County in the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 4A State Championship game in Winston-Salem. It’s the first state championship for the team since 1953.

Head football coach Sam Greiner was on the radio Friday morning when Davis called in and said he would help. The football program was trying to figure out ways to purchase rings for its players who couldn't afford them.

The rings cost about $400 apiece, so the school was trying to raise about $20,000. A GoFundMe page was set up to help the team buy rings, which had raised nearly $7,000 by Friday morning.

When Greiner accepted the head coach position two years ago, the football program was one of the worst in the state -- winning just one game in both 2014 and 2015. The players didn't have uniforms until the coach’s church bought them. They still practice on a beat-up baseball field and have to dress behind the stands.

"If someone wrote a movie script about everything that's happened, they would think it's a fairy tale,” Greiner said. “They wouldn't think it's real life.”

WSOC-TV asked what expenses Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools cover and was told it provides for game officials, security and coaching stipends.

Everything else is up to the school, families or a booster club.

Harding doesn't have a booster club, and a majority of the students’ families don't have the money.

"We have kids on our rosters that don't really have homes,” Greiner said. “They really don't know what they're going to eat (from) day to day.”

Greiner and his church created a family before building a state championship-caliber team. The church provides meals before games and Greiner let his quarterback, Braheam Murphy, who was homeless, live with him.

"I have two daughters because I think the good Lord knew I had enough sons, coaching football," Greiner said.

Teen shot in head is back to playing basketball after more than a year in recovery

Last year, a Chicago Public Schools honor student was shot in the head and has since made an unbelievable comeback Tuesday night. Damari Hendrix is back on the basketball court this week for the first time since a random shooting nearly took his life.

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According to WGN, Hendrix had to go through surgery three times and spent four days in a medically induced coma. He also was forced to learn to walk and talk again. But now he’s running, and his coach says he’s also redefining what’s possible.

>> On Rare.us: There’s a sad statistic about shooting deaths, influenced by Chicago

“Watching them practice, it’s impossible to believe that not long ago, one of these young men lay dying from a gunshot wound to the head,” Brian Rose, Hendrix’s coach, said. Last Labor Day weekend in a park near his home, Hendrix came close to his life ending.

“We just heard ‘shooter,’ and everybody got up running and stuff and I didn’t know I was shot until later on, I was running, my body started shutting down and stuff. I couldn’t see, walk, talk, run no more,” he said.

>> On Rare.us: Facebook Live video catches a fatal Chicago shooting that ended a toddler’s life

Hendrix came back on the court with his teammates at Foreman High School for the first time in 14 months – and all he can do is grin. Hendrix is still working on some fine motor skills but you wouldn’t know by watching him practice – dunking a couple of times.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news

“I get a second chance at life. I thought I wasn’t going to make it,” he said. “Up. I only want to go up, get better and better every day.”

Homecoming queen kicks game-winning field goal

It was a great week for a Texas high school student. She was named homecoming queen last week, and on Friday she kicked five extra points and the game-winning field goal for her football team.

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Claire Jeffress was the clutch kicker for Dawson High School on Friday, converting a 30-yard field goal with 1:08 to play to snap a tie and give the Eagles a 38-35 victory against Pearland.

“Homecoming queen knocks it through, Dawson wins,” Dawson head coach Eric Wells told the Houston Chronicle. “You have to love that.”

Wells said Dawson “doesn’t get rattled” during games. 

“There wasn’t even a question that she was going to kick it,” he said.

Besides, it wasn’t even Jeffress’ first game-winning kick. She made a go-ahead extra point on Oct. 5 to give Dawson a 14-13 victory against George Ranch.

Jeffress has been playing football since she was a seventh-grader. She told TMC News in January that she felt she needed to prove herself to play on the boys squad.

“I didn't want to make the team because I was a girl -- I didn't want it to be some special factor," she told TMC News. “I wanted to make it because I deserved to be on the team. They understood that.”

On the night she was crowned homecoming queen -- her homecoming dress was adorned with a football -- Jeffress was 6-for-6 on extra points as Dawson defeated Brazoswood 51-16. 

So kicking a game-winner on Friday was not a pressure situation, she said.

“I just wanted to do what I've always done and not think of it as any big deal,” Jeffress told the Chronicle. “My team had faith in me, and they were going to block for me, and the snap and the hold were going to be good, so I just had to do my job.”

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