Four local high school football players have been preparing for a challenge off of the field that won’t exactly test their athletic ability, but rather their appetites.

The lawn of the old Burke County courthouse will be home to the first ever “Burke Burger Battle” this Saturday at 4 p.m.with all four high school football teams being represented.

One representative from each high school football team has been chosen to take on and eat the Triple Triple Burger from Jake’s Wayback Burger s in downtown Morganton.

The burger consists of nine, that's right , nine burger patties with the option of having cheese and ketchup throughout the layers. The competitor who eats the burger the fastest will win a trophy as the “chompion” of the Burke Burger Battle.

The four football players that have been chosen are Brody Butler, of Draughn High School , James Boyd, of Freedom High School , Dawson Leonard, of Patton High School , and Cody Huffman of East Burke High School.

“They (the football teams) have picked their ‘chompion’ and they will have a showdown on Saturday,” Smith said.

The fastest time that has been recorded for eating the burger is eight minutes, said Eric Davidson, one of the owners of Jake's Wayback Burgers.

The event was organized by Tim Smith, who is the Burke County Area r epresentative of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, in collaboration with Davidson.

“We were in his restaurant one day and I saw a picture of the Triple Triple Burger on the wall and so we started knocking around the idea of having a challenge between all the football teams,” Smith said.

Although this will be a fun competition between the schools, Smith sees it as a way for the four schools to be unified.

“The point is our schools compete against one another in the county, but at the end of the day , we are all part of the same county and the same community,” he said. “Even though we all compete , we are all on the same team and we want to make sure that our community flourishes.”

Smith hopes that this will be a way for students to reach out to one another and , instead of always having the mindset of competition , that there will be moments of unity as well.

“It is all about relationship building because a lot of time it us always us against them,” Smith said. “We want to mingle and get into one another’s lives to have a good time together.”

Fellowship of Christian Athletes has been around since 1954 and now has become an international organization to support middle school, high school, collegiate and professional athletes, Smith said.

“A lot of people think that Fellowship of Christian Athletes is just for an athlete, but it is for coaches, athletes and those that they influence,” he said. “We want our athletes to be role models in our community. We want them to use their platform to do something positive for the community and schools.”

Smith has the responsibility to “support, encourage and serve the coaches and athletes in the school system.”

“It (is about ) relationship building and being a positive influence and giving our athletes and coaches access to resources that would help the lives of the coaches and athletes that would enhance rather than retract,” Smith said.

Before the Burke Burger Battle on Saturday, the high school groups and any spectators will meet at the restaurant at 2 p.m. for those who want to eat beforehand. A portion of the proceeds from those who eat at Jake’s Wayback Burger s on Saturday will be donated to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes to help purchase resources given to the athletes and coaches.

For more information about the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, visit www.nwncfca.org.

Staff Writer Jonelle Bobak can be reached at jbobak@morganton.com or 828-432-8907.

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