High School Football Star Is Also Cheerleading Star - FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com

High School Football Star Is Also Cheerleading Star

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A 335-pound nose tackle has college scouts drooling, but after he pounds the sled, he takes off the pads about halfway through practice to join his other team, the cheer squad.

"Probably going to work on our new halftime. Do a couple stunts, probably do some jumps," he says.

At Episcopal School of Dallas, Armand Fernandez-Pierre does his jumps under the Friday night lights. Last week, during a season opening win, Armand manhandled opponents for the first two quarters, then did the cheer routine at half-time, executing a nice Herkie.

Pierre's astounding mix began when the football coach first spotted the cheer squad's all star.

"Met him in the cafeteria, kid shook my hand, like to crush it. I said, ‘this kid has got to play football,'" says Coach Clayton Sanders.

Coach Clayton Sanders found Armand reluctant at first. Armand had suffered a serious neck injury when he played football as an 8th grader and decided to stick with cheer as a high school junior. He eventually agreed to consider playing football during his senior year.

"The deal was that he and my cheer coach would have to figure a way that I could play both sports in the same season," Pierre recalls.

One game into the season, Armand has already heard from coaches at powerhouse schools like Miami and UCLA.

"Football opens a lot more opportunities for him," says Coach Sanders.

Armand finds similarities in the two sports, though he approaches each with a distinctly different attitude.

"It's about encouraging each other and moving forward as a group and a team. When it comes to football, I love being able to be, I guess, how could you say it? Brutal," Pierre says.

"Obviously his massive strength and his size, it what helps us. The girls feel really comfortable with him," says Eric Daboa, the cheer coach.

"Believe it or not, Cheer is one of the most physical sports I have ever done, and I've done a wide range of sports including lacrosse and wrestling," says Pierre.

"In my career, I have never heard of anything or seen anything like this," admits Sanders.

"Right now I'm just enjoying what I thought was impossible," says Pierre.

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