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Cathedral High School football nationally recognized on-and-off the field

(WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Cathedral High School’s football team finds plenty of success on the gridiron each year. 

But the success doesn’t stop there, as the players also achieve a lot in the classroom. 

And now, that success is being recognized nationally. 

The National Football Foundation (NFF) and College Hall of Fame announced on Tuesday that Cathedral was the recipient of the 2023-24 Hatchell Cup, presented by “The Original” Bob’s Steak & Chop House. 

According to a news release, “The award recognizes the Fighting Irish as the top high school football team in the nation for excellence in the classroom, on the field and in the community, and it comes with a $10,000 donation from Bob’s to support the football program.”

“The NFF is proud to present the Hatchell Cup to Cathedral High School,” NFF Chairman Archie Manning said in the release. “All of the school’s players, coaches, administrators and their families should be incredibly proud of the team’s accomplishments. We hope by inspiring teams to compete in the classroom with the same competitive spirit that it takes to win on the field, we will better prepare high school football players for success later in life.”

Cathedral was chosen from the 56 previous teams recognized as the state winners of the 2023-24 NFF National High School Academic Excellence Awards.

“We are extremely proud to congratulate our first national champion, Indianapolis Cathedral,” Indiana Football Coaches Association executive director Bob Gaddis said in a press release. “A special congratulations to Coach Billy Peebles and his staff for making academic excellence as important as wins and losses. It is a tremendous honor to be included in such an elite group of football programs around the country. The excitement and recognition this creates for the schools and communities that these student-athletes represent is amazing. It makes the sacrifices of these student-athletes all worth it.”

The Fighting Irish finished with an 8-4 overall record this past season, falling to Ben Davis in the regional round of the IHSAA 6A State Football Tournament. 

The team finished the year with a 3.65 GPA in the classroom. 

The press release states, “Of the 163 players on the roster, 142 made the honor roll during the first quarter of the year, and 20 of the 30 seniors qualified for the Indiana Football Coaches Association Academic All-State Team.”

The student-athletes clearly take their studies seriously, but that’s not all. They also want to make an impact in their community. 

According to the announcement, “The team participates in a year-round service project, which includes a leadership development program where the players reach out to local schools and churches to perform service projects. The program culminates with a daily retreat on campus with local leaders speaking to the team and the players working to beautify the school for opening day.”

The official Hatchell Cup trophy presentation to Cathedral will take place at a time and place to be determined this spring.