ORLANDO, Fla. (WDBJ) -- Before they take the field on opposing sides, players from Liberty and Georgia Southern teamed up Friday to pack 20,000 meals for children in Haiti, as part of the Feeding Children Everywhere initiative.
It's a cause that holds special importance to Flames head coach Hugh Freeze.
"Our foundation has supported a village there for the last six years, so I know the need that is there," Freeze said. "To come today and find out it's going back there, and I've seen firsthand many times the need that's there, so it's a good day for sure."
For Liberty tight end Zac Foutz, just being here for these bowl week events wasn't always a given.
"It's honestly a miracle, only by the grace of God that I'm here," he said.
The Cave Spring graduate persevered through a serious bout with fungal meningitis in high school and has since undergone seven surgeries for various other injuries while at Liberty.
"Picture the perfect scenario, and when I came here we talked about going to a bowl game and that was the talk of what we were going to be in a couple years and to be here, honestly, is just a miracle," Foutz said. "I can't thank the people enough back in Cave Spring and Lynchburg and everybody that's been a part of my life. I can't say thank you enough."
Even in Florida, the support for the Flames has been hard to ignore. Screams of, "HUUUUGH," could be heard from Liberty faithful on a passing water taxi as their head coach spoke to reporters.
But through all the fun and philanthropy, the key word for this team right now is focus.
"I would say last night around 10 o'clock when we had that curfew, the switch flipped and everybody was ready to go," Foutz said. "Obviously, it's going to be an important game and we just didn't come here to show our faces. We came here to show out and actually play and win this game."
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