Panthers' great still a moving force

By Randy Lefko
Posted 8/1/18

ORANGE PARK – Former Ridgeview High quarterback great Derek Hatcher’s legacy of football combined with a legacy of fundraising and awareness Saturday morning at the Dye-Clay YMCA with the QB-5 …

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Panthers' great still a moving force

Posted

ORANGE PARK – Former Ridgeview High quarterback great Derek Hatcher’s legacy of football combined with a legacy of fundraising and awareness Saturday morning at the Dye-Clay YMCA with the QB-5 Derek Hatcher Foundation flag football tournament.

“Derek made the bad choice of drug addiction years go and we took it upon ourselves to continue his legacy of sharing the message of his sobriety,” said Debbie Rizer, Hatcher’s mother. “Unfortunately, he relapse and, in 2016, his life was ended in his college dorm from an overdose as he was attempting to return to football.”

Rizer, noting 17 teams from all over Florida and even Tennessee, was fond of the support of the entrants for the flag football tournament.

“We have been able to support five $1,000 scholarships today for five applicants who were chosen based on an essay they wrote about how drug addiction has affected their life and their family,” said Rizer. “To date, we’ve raised up to $35,000 with probably another $12-15,000 raised today. From that, we are giving scholarships.”

The Hatcher Foundation scholarship winners included, from Fleming Island High School, wrestler Jacob Sandoval who wrote about his experience of seeing his seventh grade classmates arriving in school high or drunk including a friend who was later shot and killed at age 16 playing Russian Roulette while in a drug-related gang;

Kiaran Turner, a Ridgeview High football and weightlifting standout heading to college football who caught passes with Hatcher as a YMCA youth, who wrote about how shocked he was when a random drug check at Ridgeview High how many people were caught by the drug canine unit; Jamie Christos, a Ridgeview High graduate with a 4.4 grade point average, who wrote about how domestic drug addiction is everlasting and that family members are always talked about once the addiction starts; Alexandria Vaughn, a graduate of Fleming Island High, who wrote that at age eight, she was affected by a drug addiction experience from a relative who she was unknowing of the addiction, and Savannah Olsen, a graduate of Ridgeview High with a 4.8 gpa and also Miss Ridgview High School and cheerleader, who wrote about drug addiction’s non-discriminatory affect and it’s tragic resistance to family intervention.

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