Collecting for a cause

New Braunfels senior wide receivers Craig Johnson (left) and Luke Dorrow pose for a photo at Heroes Stadium to bring awareness to the 2019 Peanut Butter Bowl. During their season opener on Aug. 30 at NBHS, the Unicorns will be accepting donations in the form of jars of creamy peanut butter to benefit the local SOS Food Bank.

It’s been said that the opening Friday night of the new high school football season is like an early Christmas gift for gridiron enthusiasts statewide.

This year, the Unicorns are adding even more spirit to the de facto holiday.

New Braunfels has joined forces with seven other San Antonio-area schools — Johnson, Brandeis, Alamo Heights, Churchill, Clark, Reagan and Brennan — to present the 2019 Peanut Butter Bowl. The idea is simple — ask every fan to bring and donate one jar of creamy peanut butter to help feed hungry families and children in need.

The idea was started by Johnson head coach Ron Rittimann and Brandeis head coach David Branscom a few years ago and has expanded to four separate stadiums this season. The Unicorns will be accepting donations to benefit New Braunfels’ SOS Food Bank prior to their Aug. 30 home opener against Alamo Heights.

In addition to the efforts of Rittimann and Branscom, the Peanut Butter Bowl was also established by Steve Teel, who is the president of San Antonio nonprofit Very Bold Ministries.

Unicorns head coach Glenn Mangold said he and Rittimann have known Teel for some time. When given the chance to join the fight against hunger, there was no hesitation by Mangold and five other area coaches.

“Ron and I, when we worked together at Madison, we knew [Teel] as a youth pastor in the area,” Mangold said. “Ron told him that he wanted to expand it this year, so they emailed six more coaches and everybody jumped on board and said, ‘Let’s do it.’ It’s such a good cause and there is a need here in New Braunfels for it. We thought it was a no-brainer.”

During the first three Peanut Butter Bowls between Johnson and Brandeis, over 15,000 jars of peanut butter were collected and donated to Snack Pak 4 Kids San Antonio, which aims to feed chronically hungry children. This year, the goal of 20,000 jars has been set for the four kickoff games combined.

Mangold is confident that Unicorn fans will do their part to make the expanded Peanut Butter Bowl a smashing success.

“The Unicorns always step up to a challenge and meet a need,” Mangold said. “There’s a need in New Braunfels and we’re asking everybody that, if they have one, bring one jar of peanut butter. Help do our part and give back a little bit.”

In addition to the Aug. 30 game between New Braunfels and Alamo Heights and the Brandeis-Johnson matchup at Heroes Stadium on the same night, the Peanut Butter Bowl also includes the annual Churchill-Clark rivalry matchup on Aug. 29 at Farris Stadium and the Reagan-Brennan game on Aug. 30 at Farris Stadium.

All games on Aug. 30 are set to kick off at 7:30 p.m., while the Aug. 29 Clark-Churchill game is set to begin at 7 p.m.

“If it goes well this season, and there’s no reason it won’t go great, maybe we can branch out a little further so we can reach more families and kids who are in need,” Mangold said.

Those unable to make it to any of the football games can go online to SOSfoodbank.org or SP4KSA.org to find out how to make a contribution.

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