By Ken Lay

The start of the 2021 high school football season is less than two weeks away and area teams and coaches are in the midst of preparations for the upcoming campaign.

But four local players from Carter High School took a break from the game Tuesday afternoon to lend a hand to Sacred Ground Hospice.

Beds were delivered to the facility and Chandler Wilson, Kash Altom, Presean Brown and Parker Gentry took some time to assemble and place the hospital beds in the rooms at Sacred Ground, which is tentatively scheduled to open later this month at 1120 Dry Gap Pike in North Knox County.

Hornets’ head coach Justin Pressley excused the players from team activities so they could lend a hand to the hospice facility.

Wilson, Carter’s starting quarterback, said he loves helping those in need in the community.

“I love to do this stuff,” Wilson said. “I like to help in the community.”

Hornets’ assistant coach Jeremy Wagner said he was pleased to see the team’s players take time to help place the beds in the facility.

“(We’re) building good young men and not just good football players and athletes. We are Carter strong and have lost several pillars of our community recently and with COVID the past few months,” Wagner said. “It’s really important that our kids fully realize what it means to be part of Carter High School and what it means to be part of this community.

“They are our leaders after graduation and we need them and that great community spirit more than ever.”

Brown said he is no stranger to helping those in need.

“It feels good to help out people in need,” he said. “It’s huge for me. I help (to feed) the homeless.

“It feels good to give back.”

Sacred Ground Director Jen Fargo expressed her appreciation to the Hornets for their work Tuesday afternoon.

“We really appreciate this very much. It shows character,” said Fargo, who recently moved to Knoxville from Michigan with her husband Brian. “It takes a village of volunteers.

“We’re going to have a paid staff, but we’ll need lots of volunteers.”

Fargo also expressed gratitude to Mynatt’s funeral home, which has helped with landscaping around Sacred Ground.

“For Gentry, he felt the obligation to provide assistance simply because he could.

“We’re just happy to be here and help out, to help out people in need,” he said. “People need help and we’re the ones to do it.”

Altom said he also feels the need to lend his services.

“This is the least we can do,” he said. “These people come out and they support us.

“They come out and watch us show out.”