Rockvale students hold prayer before game in support of head football coach

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RUTHERFORD COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — With bowed heads, students, staff, and community members came together Friday night to pray.

“Guide us tonight,” said one student leading the prayer. “Guide us on the field, make sure that we’re strong.”

For students at Rockvale High School, the prayer was more than just a show of faith but a show of support for head football coach Rick Rice.

The school district got a complaint after Rice led his team in prayer at a football game.

“We were just disturbed,” said student Madison Nowacki. “We were really upset when everything happened.”

The nonprofit Freedom From Religion Foundation complained to Rutherford County Schools, saying it’s illegal for coaches to lead their teams in prayer.

The complaint prompted students to lead their own.

“We stand behind him all the way,” Nowacki said.

“We’re all kind of coming together to let everybody know that around here what we do as a family is we pray, regardless of what religious belief you have,” said community member Brian Hill.

The same nonprofit filed a complaint against baptisms being done on the football field at Springfield High School.

They said coaches were promoting and endorsing religion to students.

Some students call the complaints “ridiculous.”

“Keep doing what you’re doing Coach Rice,” Hill said. “We got your back.”

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