From left — Gainesville State School Football Coaches Henry Thomas, Terrance Washington and Roy J. Burns are presented an award from NTFO president Charles Casillas.

The North Texas Football Officials based in Wichita Falls honored the Gainesville State School’s Tornadoes football team with one of two sportsmanship Awards the group gives out annually.

“If every team played on the field like these kids do, it would be a thrill to work these games,” said NTFO Vice President Charles Casillas, who presented the award Jan. 15 to the Tornadoes players and coaches at Lone Star High School North, part of the state school campus.

Casillas cited the Tornadoes for their positive interactions with opponents on the field and with each other, noting that “when things go south, they still don’t get down on themselves or each other and they continue to play.”

Casillas also praised the coaching staff for teaching good sportsmanship.

“The coaching staff and myself always tell our football players to play smart, hard, together, and always play with class,” Tornadoes head coach Roy J. Burns said.

“Playing with class is big part of the football program here at Lone Star North, we want our youth to understand that win, lose, or draw, your character and how you conduct yourself is what people will remember you by, not the score on the scoreboard,” Burns said.

Burns and coaches Henry Thomas and Terrance Washington took the six-man Tornadoes football team to the championship game in Waco in 2018 and the semi-finals in 2019, ending the season with a 9-3 record in the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools.

The NTFO, a 95-member organization of community members who officiate at hundreds of youth varsity and sub-varsity games, gives out the sportsmanship award to one small school and one large school annually.

Gainesville State School is residential secure facility with a full program of academics and rehabilitation programs for youth who’ve been committed to the Texas Juvenile Justice Department.

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