High School football player switches to cheerleader at half-time - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

High School football player switches to cheerleader at half-time

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When it's half-time at a high school football game, the players usually go into the locker room. But one Dallas senior takes off the pads and joins the cheerleading squad for the half-time performance instead.

"Obviously his massive strength and his size is what helps us. The girls feel really comfortable with him," said the Episcopal School of Dallas Cheerleading Coach.

Who wouldn't feel comfortable with a 335-pound All Star on their team?

"Believe it or not, Cheer is one of the most physical sports I have ever done and I've done a wide range of sports including lacrosse and wrestling," said Armand Fernandez-Pierre.

He is no stranger to football either, but a serious neck injury in the 8th grade has kept him off the field, until now.

"Met him in the cafeteria, kid shook my hand, like to crush it, I said this kid has got to play football," said Football Coach Clayton Sanders.

It took some convincing, but Coach Clayton was able to get the Episcopal School of Dallas senior to get off the sidelines.

"The deal was that he and my cheer coach would have to figure a way that I could play both sports in the same season," Fernandez-Pierre said.

Coach Sanders said, "I called UIL to make sure everything was on the up and up, that he could do two sports and they said, 'Absolutely.'"

It's an exception the UIL doesn't make often.

One Austin High School mom said, "I actually thought, how is he going to be able to manage both of them?"

"I'd probably make fun of him a little bit, but it's okay," said Taijahnay Reese.

"Being on the cheerleading team, that's even better because you get to do more with your body as far as athletics," said Tony Sorrells. "That's showing that his manhood is already in place."

"In my career I have never heard of anything or seen anything like this," said Coach Sanders.

His football coach asks Armand not to go full contact on anything but the sleds because he's worried he might hurt his teammates.

The stacked nose tackle is already hearing from coaches at Miami and UCLA.

"He's the big brother of the entire team. Never lets anybody fall. Never lets anybody hit the ground," said his cheer coach.

There's a feeling of team spirit on each squad, but his roles are very different.

"It's about encouraging each other and moving forward as a group and a team. When it comes to football I love being able to be, I guess, how could you say it? Brutal," Fernandez-Pierre said. "Right now I'm just enjoying what I thought was impossible."

He jumps, hurdles and muscles his way to victory every week under the Friday night lights.

According to the UIL, the University Interscholastic League, students are not allowed to be enrolled in two P.E. credits at the same time.

In Fernandez-Pierre's case, they made an exception. The UIL does not keep a record of how many schools request exceptions for students.

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