Peoria High Lions say this is their secret weapon heading to state football finals

“Before he plays any game and for the last four years, we take a moment and focus.”
But what is their secret weapon?
Published: Nov. 23, 2022 at 3:22 PM CST
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PEORIA (25 News Now) - “Which mom would you say cooks the best? “oooooh”

Whether on the field (nats kicking the ball) or off

Players from the Peoria High School football team say it’s the women standing behind them who motivate them the most.

Brett Brooks: “Which mom would you say is the craziest in the stand?”

As football moms, they say it’s not easy to watch their sons go so hard on the field.

Shoanda Gavin, Malachi Washington’s mother says, “I sit in the stand and I’m like, ‘get up, get up, get up’ because he does take those hits and he gets up everytime.”

It’s this support that creates a special family bond.

Wife of Coach Tim Thornton and mom of “Duce” Thornton, “but it’s also we know that we have their backs and we have their back too so no matter how violent it is on the field, they are always going to look and love on their mom. For me and I know all these ladies, that just makes you feel warm and fuzzy.”

Tricia Dixon says, “boys have a special place in their mom’s heart and when they play football it’s even stronger.”

Wide Receiver TQ Webb, who tells us his mom, “helps me with everything. She makes sure I get up.”

Giving credit to their mothers for bringing them this far in their athletic careers, Sean Franklin, one of the running backs says “every day she’s on me: grades, football, going to be on time. Eating right. She’s the reason I am where I’m at with football and just here being successful and doing my own thing.”

Starting Quarterback Valentino Gist, says “every time I’m slacking, she makes sure I stay on it. Especially my grades when I get lazy or not motivated.”

“She made a lot of sacrifices for me and my family, my brothers and sisters that I could never pay her back for,” explains Malachi Washington, running back.

Both sides agree it’s a give and take -- the boys need their moms just as strongly as the love their moms have for them.

Jennifer Hearn, mom to Ricky Hearn, a receiver says, “we all love to watch our sons play football. We all love to see their humbleness of them the teamwork the dedication that they put into it and I feel like we are just as dedicated as they are when it comes to taking care of them and making sure that they are healthy, they are strong and they are doing what they are supposed to do.”

Gavin says their secret is to take a moment, “before he plays any game and for the last four years, we take a moment and focus. He calls me when he’s getting ready and that is our cue for us to pray together. We like to get centered, grounded if you will and everything we do in life is centered around God.”