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Local schools participating in Panthers’ helmet contest

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Three high school football programs in the Johnstonian News readership area — Princeton, North Johnston and Smithfield-Selma — have the chance to win sleek new helmets by October.

All three programs are participating in Wear it like a Pro, a contest sponsored by the Carolina Panthers and Blue Cross NC that will give 24 brand new Riddell SpeedFlex helmets to a winning school in each of the state’s four classifications that drum up the most votes.

That means that the 3-A Spartans, 2-A Panthers and 1-A Bulldogs could all be winners of the same helmet model donned by the Charlotte NFL team each week without hindering the chances of the others.

“The Carolina Panthers are strong supporters of football played at the grassroots level in our region,” said Riley Fields, Carolina Panthers director of community relations, in a press release. “We are pleased to partner again with Blue Cross NC on this important program, which will provide new equipment that will enhance player safety while also assisting resource-challenged athletic departments.”

More than 200 public high schools across the state have registered for the contest, which will give four winners a check of $9,576, the retail value of 24 helmets. Private schools were not eligible.

“High school football is part of the fabric of North Carolina and an important part of local communities,” said Reagan Greene Pruitt, Blue Cross NC vice president of marketing and community engagement, in a press release. “Blue Cross NC is thrilled to help give area high schools the opportunity to win these great helmets to enhance their programs.”

Voting began on Sept. 3 and runs through Oct. 15. To vote for a school, visit Votes are tallied by clicks and eligible voters must be at least 13 years old and a resident of North Carolina.