Columbus, Ga (WRBL) – This was anything but a normal start to the season for the Shaw Raiders football team. After the sudden loss of their long time head coach Al Pellegrino, the football season kicked off. The Raiders took the field at Kinnett Stadium and defeated Marion County in their first game 24-8.

“I can’t say enough about these guys. We’ve got great leadership. The team has come together. Offensively and defensively we’re starting to play better. You know these guys have been through a lot and they just keep going every day. One foot in front of the other. I just really respect them for that,” said Shaw head coach Blair Harrison.

In the middle of their mourning the Raiders said they had to rely on each other to get ready for the season.

“We all came together. We had to especially losing Coach P. We had to restart back at ground zero. While everybody is doing everything else,” said senior running back and linebacker Jayln Bass.

Whil the game was played, Coach Pellegrino’s presence was sorely missed on the sidelines and around the program. At halftime, the Raiders along with the Pellegrino family honored the late head coach.

“I’m glad everybody came together. The community came together. I still don’t even believe it. It’s just everyday we think about him. It’s just going to part of this story,” said Harrison.

The support and love for the Shaw football hasn’t only come from Columbus. It’s poured in from around the country.

“I mean we’re getting emails everyday from former Raiders just wanting to help. We’re getting financial backing that are from different states. They’re just wanting to help us. It’s been great. It’s tragic but maybe this thing will come out on the other end and it will be a positive to come from all of this,” said Harrison.

Congratulations to our newest Kia Autosport Athletes of the Week the Shaw High School football team.