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Palm Beach Post (Florida)
An Oxbridge Academy player and his mother, upset with the school's decision to shut down the football program, have started a petition to bring the team back.
The player, who asked to remain anonymous, started the petition on Thursday morning and as of 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, it had received nearly 300 signatures.
"At the end of the day, the team brought the whole school together," the player said. "It was just a big family. Everybody supported each other, everybody was friendly, everybody was nice to each other. And now it feels like they're not going to have that anymore without the team being in place."
The player said he was not surprised by the amount of support the petition has received.
"I knew that it was a family atmosphere, and the team was a lifeline for the school," he said. "It just united everybody together, regardless of what grade you were in or who you hung out with in your free time. It was like everybody supported everybody."
Oxbridge shut down the program, one of the winningest in the county since its inception five years ago, on Wednesday, citing too few football players to safely maintain a program.
The ThunderWolves lost 15 of the 44 players on last year's team to graduation, and eight players transferred from the program following the season.
But the Oxbridge player who started this petition said he thinks the ThunderWolves could have enough players to play and that the team should be given a chance.
"I 100 percent believe that it's feasible that Oxbridge could have a team," the player said." In my personal opinion — and I know I speak for not just myself but also a few other people in the locker room — we definitely felt like we could have had a team this season."
The team began in an independent conference in 2013, going 19-3 and winning two conference titles. The ThunderWolves joined Florida High School Athletic Association in 2015, winning a district championship and making the playoffs for three straight years.
Oxbridge made it to the Class 3A state championship in 2017, losing to Hollywood-Chaminade Madonna 31-28 on a last-second field goal.
"This is not anything to bash the school, this is nothing derogatory or critical of the school," the player said. "The whole purpose of this because we like the school and, regardless of all the turmoil that the team has been through, we still want to attend, we still want to play football, we still want to represent the school."
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