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The rain subsided long enough for members of the Great Mills football team to put smiles on faces within the Lexington Park community of Colony South on Shangri La Drive as they teamed up with The Three Oaks Center, South Point Church and INTERVARSITY Christian Fellowship.

Encourage Hope Day was organized on Saturday by The Three Oaks Center of Lexington Park to help clean up a neighborhood in need. Based on their website, The Three Oaks Center provides emergency, transitional and permanent supportive housing that helps individuals and families meet their basic needs for shelter.

“What I see here is the fact that you can accomplish great things when you come together,” said Betty Jones, a team mother and team member at South Point Church. “You know we are so individualist in this society that we think, ‘I can do it, ‘I can do it,’ but when you pull people together, look at what they did. They filled three dumpsters full of stuff and one person alone couldn’t have done this.”

Deedra Earl, former head volleyball coach at Great Mills and her husband were also out with gloves on working in the community with her church, South Point. Earl is an acting assistant coach this season.

Hornets senior running back and linebacker Naqawn Strain said it meant a lot to him to have such support in a neighborhood that he used to live in.

“It’s wonder,” Strain said. “I love giving back to the community. I lived here, so I know how it is. I know a lot of people in this neighborhood, so it’s good for them to see me. I’m here. I care about this community.”

Strain attends Oasis of Victory Christian Church in Lexington Park under the leadership of Pastor James Spence, Jr., a church that used to hold worship in the auditorium at Great Mills High School.

Strain’s faith is what guides him on and off the field.

“Cleaning and cleansing neighborhoods can cut down on crime,” Strain said. “I think feeding them and just caring shows that someone cares. We’re still here.”

Strain also reflected on last Friday’s game against Potomac of Prince George’s County, a 42-26 loss.

“They were kind of big and sizeable, but that’s no excuse for not winning,” Strain said. “We need to come together and work as a team so that we can be competitive with other teams.”

Teammates Kalin Jones, Markeese Hill, Mathew Mincey, Gilbert McCoy and Lamont Ortiz joined Strain in the cleanup.

Kalin Jones, a junior lineman and son of Betty Jones, said he kept busy Saturday.

“It’s good to be out helping the community,” Kalin Jones said. “It means a lot to be out here. It looks like we did a good job. I’m really proud of my teammates that are out here.

Senior wide receiver Michael Hill scored two touchdowns. His first came off a fumble recovery in the red zone and the very next play was a slant to him. Ian Williams scored late in the game on a rushing touchdown and Eugene Wright ran a fumble for a touchdown late in the game.

“We had it and then we couldn’t pull it out toward the end,” Hill said. “We kind of fell apart. We did have a bad call. He fumbled the ball but we were called for a penalty before he fumbled so they called it back.”

Great Mills (0-5, 0-3) travels to Patuxent tonight for a game starting at 7 p.m.

tshowalter@somdnews.com