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Phillips, Carter & Jones Support DeLaSalle Football Team at United Heroes League Course


HASTINGS, Minn. — DeLaSalle High School football players dug deep, reached from within and relied on one another.

The test wasn't a tough foe in the fourth quarter.

Instead, it was a series of obstacles on the Sgt. Maj. John J. Schwartz Confidence Course at United Heroes League.

The players and Head Coach Terrell McMoore navigated obstacles that mimic those conquered by military members during training.

In addition to UHL's training staff and National Guard members, the team was supported by Vikings defensive lineman Harrison Phillips, outside linebacker Andre Carter II and running back Aaron Jones last week.

"It's very fun and refreshing to see our guys come together as a team to help each other through some of the obstacles and some adversity," McMoore said. "It's really good, and to have the Vikings out here and supporting them goes a long way.

"When we're getting to the end part of the obstacle course, it's a reminder that I have to tell them to push through. That's when it's the hardest," McMoore added. "When they're getting at the end and your muscles are weak and you're mentally exhausted, that's when it's good to have somebody there to remind you to push through. It's all about finishing. That's one of the things I try to teach them all the time. You can be great all the way up and then fall at the finish line, so it's important to always have the focus and the finish."

Players who navigated obstacles smoothly doubled back to help teammates, providing encouragement and an occasional outstretched hand, particularly over the Reverse Climb.

"When one can't make it through, he's got to depend on his teammates to help him out and make it a team effort to try to get over that obstacle," said veteran and UHL Senior VP of Operations Edwin Adricula.

View photos of Vikings defensive lineman Harrison Phillips, outside linebacker Andre Carter II and running back Aaron Jones supporting DeLaSalle Football Team at United Heroes League Course.

Rising senior defensive lineman Mason Burnett was one of the larger-statured players who showed his determination to finish Weaver, an inverted V-shape of horizontal beams on which the participant alternates between going over and under the wooden beams.

"It was hard. It seemed like it was a really long way to go, but it was easy with everyone around me supporting me. That really helped," Burnett said. "Similar to games, where you kind of need to be there for your teammates in other situations. They might not always need someone, but most of the time, you've got to be there for your teammates to get through most things."

Phillips, Carter and Jones appreciated the opportunity to connect with the young people and military members.

"Both of my grandfathers fought for this country, and I just have a deep admiration for the fact that we're able to play a children's game for a living because of the sacrifices by our military," said Phillips, who later added interacting with the DeLaSalle team took him back to his high school days.

For Carter, who graduated from West Point and will serve as an Army officer at the conclusion of his playing career, the memories recalled were more recent.

"They had a couple that were the same exact thing we did after my freshman year during summer training," Carter said. "It was pretty cool to see 1-for-1 some of the same obstacles we did at West Point. It's great to get to see these kids have exposure to some of the things I was exposed to and learn about all the opportunities they have."

Carter said he hopes the course illustrated to the players that they should not put limits on what they can achieve.

Jones, who signed with the Vikings in free agency received a warm welcome to Minnesota. His A&A All the Way Foundation emphasizes supporting youth by providing for needs, as well as recreation and fitness opportunities with an emphasis on supporting children in military families.

"It's an honor to be out here. This is everything to me, the youth and military and combining them together," Jones said. "They're here to build team chemistry, and what other way to do than getting through these obstacles with teamwork. You see them cheering each other on. Some of them didn't think they could get over a wall, but with the help of others, they were able to do it.

"It puts a smile on my face and warms my heart because I remember being in their shoes at one point, doing teambuilding activities," Jones added. "You just take it in and come together as a team. You'll remember things like this forever."

His late father, Alvin Jones, Sr., served 29 years, and his mother, Vurgess, served 27. Both were sergeant majors when they retired.

"The military was my life, too. If you're a child, or your spouse serves, you serve with them, as well. You feel those hardships," Jones said. "When it's time to pick up and move, you move with them, but I'm still thankful for the military and the upbringing it gave me. I'm able to adapt to things quickly. I've gotten to grow up in different cultures, live in different countries, so I wouldn't change it for the world."