Despite challenging season, Chicago Hope Academy football team makes playoffs

It's been a season of ups and downs for the football team at Chicago Hope Academy.

Two teams canceled key games against them over security concerns.

But despite their challenges, the players found a way to pull through and they are going to the playoffs.

In the minutes after two teams took the football field on Chicago’s west side, the terrifying moments happened. The sound of gunshots cracked the night air.

It was a sound sophomore Neil Campbell says he's heard before, but these shots are remembered vividly.

“Even though they don't happen, often on the football field, we know when something like that happens, we're just going to get on the ground,” Campbell said.

No one at the game was injured, but it was enough to shake two Catholic suburban high schools from making the trip to Chicago, they said, out of concern for safety.

Despite the tumultuous season, Hope finished with seven wins to their two losses and qualified for the playoffs.

FOX 32 spoke to Campbell as his team practiced.

“It wasn't right. from them, coming from a Christian standpoint, you're supposed to have faith in God, no matter where you go,” Campbell said.

But the forfeitures did leave Hope without opponents for spirited homecoming and senior night games. So on senior night, they played teachers in touch football, held a cookout and went ahead with the rose presentation attended by hundreds.

As he sits for film study ahead of their game, those are the moments Campbell chooses to take with him from an emotional season.

“I felt better for the seniors,” Campbell said. “That was one of my best moments, seeing everybody still happy, even though our game got cancelled.

Hope will be taking on ORR Academy at Altgeld Field Friday night at 7. the school has been coordinating with Chicago police to increase patrols during the game.

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