Riverside football star shows leadership with jersey gesture

Quinton Hood honors teammate, friend by wearing his number
A football player’s number is part of their identity.
Published: Sep. 21, 2023 at 7:26 PM EDT
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GREER, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - A football player’s number is part of their identity.

But for Riverside’s last game, senior safety Quinton Hood made the rare move of changing that identity. When his team didn’t have his number four jersey in the black uniforms they were wearing for Friday’s game hosting Spartanburg. Quinton got an idea.

“I just thought, this is the opportunity to do it,” Quinton said. “So I wanted to wear his number and just go out and play for him.”

Instead, Quinton wore number 27 to honor his teammate Zacharias Martin, who tore his ACL in a preseason game. That ended Zach’s season before it even started.

“When I showed up with the 27, as a defense, everybody’s looking around like, ‘We got Z-man out here on the field with us,’” Quinton said. “He’s in spirit, he’s on the field. So everyone just had the confidence that we’re going to dedicate this game to him.”

Z-man explained how Quinton’s kind gesture came about.

“He had asked me to wear my number and that he wanted to represent me and play for me throughout that game,” Zacharias said. “When I saw that, I got happy, and I was like, ‘yeah!’ I’ve known him for a long time, and I knew he would ball out with my number on.”

Quinton was thinking the same thing.

“I just knew I had to go out and ball out for him,” Quinton said. “I can’t disappoint with that. So I had about 16 tackles. It was a crazy game. I felt really good going out there and performing for him.”

Quinton has an offer to play football at North Greenville University, and he’s also getting interest from schools like Davidson and Harvard. That Ivy League interest makes sense with his GPA being 5.25. When asked how a GPA that high is possible, Quinton said he gets a big bonus from his success in the six AP classes he’s taking in his final year of high school.

He also volunteers at his local church and supports causes for his friends. Riverside Football Head Coach Matt Rochester spoke about what it means to have someone like Quinton leading his team.

“The leadership and those values that he brings to a team, they’re so hard to find,” Rochester said. “I don’t think you can build that player or coach that player, they just kind of have it, and you just groom it a little bit. I can’t say enough how thankful we are to have a leader like him on our team.”

Coach Rochester said Quinton’s jersey gesture to Zacharias isn’t just meaningful now, but it’s also a lesson in kindness and teamwork that’ll last long after high school football.

“You have a teammate who’s willing to put your jersey on and go play for you. It gives you that sense of comfort and just knowing that your guys care for you,” Rochester said. “I love to see that out of our team. Going forward, I think he (Zach) will remember that in the long run, and I think if he has the opportunity to do that for another player, I think he would.”

Quinton’s dad, Greg Hood, played running back at Clemson in the early 90s, and Quinton plans to play college football after this season.

Quinton will wear his usual number four when Riverside hosts Daniel for FOX Carolina’s Game of the Week on Friday night. FOX Carolina’s Tailgate tour will be at Riverside, covering all the fun festivities before kickoff during the 5 and 6 p.m. newscasts followed by highlights of the game in the 10 o’clock newscast.