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Former ASU championship footballer speaks at first 5th Quarter of season

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Blake Elder, a past member of the Appalachian State University championship football team, brings his story of success and encouragement to the first 5th Quarter event of the season in Ashe County.

Originally published: Aug. 30, 2013
Last modified: Aug. 30, 2013

Heather Samudio

Ashe and Watauga County high school football fans, students and families looking for a place to gather after Friday night’s football game are invited to the kickoff of 5th Quarter in Jefferson.

The event provides a location for students to go following home football games in Ashe County. Free food and games such as indoor volleyball, ping-pong and video dance games are provided. Special speakers and bands are also part of the festivities.

In its second year, the event will again be held at Faith Fellowship in Jefferson.

On Friday, Blake Elder, a past member of the championship football team from Appalachian State University, will speak to the students. He will be accompanied by the praise and worship team from his home church in Boone, Cornerstone Summit.

Elder played on the ASU football team from 2006 to 2010. He played wide receiver and was proud to be part of the team that beat Michigan and later won the national championship. He also served as captain during his senior year.

He said he was looking forward to meeting the students and getting to know them.

“I’m very excited,” Elder said. “I’m going to come for the game and for the entire event. I’ve prayed for these opportunities.

 “I believe that if a generation is lost, it is not their fault,” he said. “If the things of God are not passed on to the people coming behind us, it is not their fault. It’s our fault. So, if I get an opportunity to let people know who God is and how you can live for him, I take it.”

This is the second year for 5th Quarter and approximately 150 students attended the first event last year.

“We are hoping for an even better year and are starting it off big with Blake coming to speak as well as an awesome praise and worship team from Cornerstone,” said Fawn Roark of High Country Youth Ministries. “We’re excited to see how the students respond to a very encouraging message and are believing that something they hear will just grab their hearts and change their lives.”

Several local churches, in cooperation with HCYM and the Ashe Baptist Association are working together to present the second season of 5th Quarter.  Roark said thanks to the sponsorship by area churches, organizations and individuals, everything is completely free for the students.

The doors will open at 9 p.m. and the event ends around midnight or shortly thereafter.

Parents are welcome to attend and can serve as volunteers or chaperones after signing in.
Roark said the organizers are also in need of businesses, organizations or churches to help throughout the season. Interested groups can sign up to work events, sponsor certain nights by providing the food and prizes or offer financial support.

“We just want everyone to work together to provide something positive for our youth,” Roark said. “We believe this is needed because there are all kinds of things vying for young people’s attention today and many of those things do not end up leading them in a good direction. We want to provide an alternative that is not only fun, but provides hope in a sometimes very dark world.”

Roark said it is a great way for people to volunteer their time and help support the area’s young people.

“In life, through pop culture and in college, a lot of different things are thrown at people, especially teenagers, showing them different ways to live, what to run for and how to run for it,” Elder said. “Nothing is better to run for than Jesus. The last thing we put in front of people is Jesus. I want to bring that into the forefront and counteract other things that are trying to grab student’s attention. I want to grab their attention for Jesus.”

Roark said the goal is to offer students a safe place to spend time while showing them fun that doesn’t involve “things that go on at a lot of parties today.”

 “Most of all, we want them to know people care about them and believe in them,” she said. “The main thing we hope they learn is that they can accomplish anything through Jesus Christ who gives them strength, if they will just let him.”

5th Quarter events are also planned for Sept. 13, Oct. 4 and 11 and Nov. 1 and 8.

For more information about the event or to volunteer, contact Roark at (336) 977-6788 or Bob Calhoun at (336) 877-0116.
For more information and stories, see Ashe Mountain Times.