‘Truly blessed’: Youngstown football team ready for season after NFL surprise


The Chaney Cowboys got to meet Cleveland Browns player Odell Beckham, Jr., who gave them new equipment

BEREA, Ohio (WKBN) – Nike and a new Cleveland Browns player gifted a Youngstown football team with equipment for its first season on the field in a while.

It started out as a surprise for members of the Chaney High School football team. Players were just told to get ready.

“All we was told was to have our practice pants on, have our spikes on and be ready to go and grab our stuff,” said Malcolm Lambert, a junior.

Lambert was going to ask the bus driver where they were headed.

“My Coach Chuck…he told the bus driver to not tell me where we was going,” he said.

As players sat on the bus, they slowly started to figure it out.

“I look up — how far is it away from Cleveland? I was trying to see what route we was on. I knew where we was going,” Lambert said.

They thought they were headed there for a regular practice to get ready for Friday’s game.

Then Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. walked out with shoes, mouth guards and lots of other surprises.

“I thought we was just truly blessed and the opportunity Coach Chris has provided us,” Lambert said.

Head Coach Chris Amill said Nike reached out to him at the beginning of the season, impressed with the team’s story.

This is Chaney’s first season back since 2010.

“There is a lot of excitement they seen on social media with the Chaney Cowboys and this being our first year,” Amill said. “The same excitement with Odell Beckham and this being his first year with the Cleveland Browns, and they want to try to tie us together somehow.”

The surprise was weeks in the making. Amill said he had a tough time keeping the secret.

“That was probably the hardest two weeks for me, to keep this all under wraps from when we started school to they seen it yesterday.”

For the players, it was a day they will never forget.

“That’s like my idol,” said senior Migel Burgess. “Always look up to him, always play with him on Madden and it was like, a big thing to me.”

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