SOURCE: Ford Motor Company

August 01, 2006 12:54 ET

Ford to Honor Lone Star State's Elite High School Football Players

AUSTIN, TX -- (MARKET WIRE) -- August 1, 2006 --

--  Two legendary Texas institutions -- Ford F-Series (NYSE: F) trucks and
    high school football -- team up to honor "The Built Ford Tough Texas High
    School Football Players of the Week."
--  Ford to make contribution to Texas High School Coaches Association to
    develop tomorrow's future leaders on the field and in their communities.
--  Texas is Ford Country -- Texans are football and truck loyalists,
    making local high school football a national phenomenon and Texas the top
    Ford Truck market.
In Texas, football is king, and so is the Ford F-Series pickup truck -- the state and the country's best-selling vehicle. So Ford Motor Company and its dealers are joining with Scholastic Coach & Athletic Director magazine to create the "Built Ford Tough Texas High School Football Player of the Week" award to recognize the on- and off-field accomplishments of the Lone State's gridiron heroes.

Ford's announcement will be made during halftime of tonight's Texas High School Coaches Association (THSCA) all-star football game at Darrell K. Royal Memorial Stadium on the campus of the University of Texas.

"Texans have made the Ford F-Series the most successful vehicle in the entire auto industry," said David Mondragon, Ford General Manager for Texas. "Nearly one out of every five F-Series trucks we build is sold in Texas, so it's important for us to keep giving back to the community, as we have for more than 100 years."

As part of tonight's announcement activities, Ford will make a contribution to salute and support the efforts of the THSCA and its 16,000 member coaches in the development of student-athletes as outstanding members of the community.

"No other state in the nation can compare to the passion Texas has for football, especially at the high school level," Mondragon said. "On any given Friday night, as many as one in fifteen Texas residents are attending, playing, coaching or participating in activities at a high school football game. Recognizing the top student athletes each week is just another example of how Ford and the 325 Texas Ford dealers connect with communities and customers at the local level."

The new "Built Ford Tough Texas High School Football Player of the Week" program will honor six athletes each week during the Texas high-school football season for their individual performance on the field, their contribution to the team and their success in the classroom.

Honoring Elite Texas Student-Athletes

The "Built Ford Tough Texas High School Player of the Week" program will recognize one high school student-athlete in six of the state's athletic classifications every week of the regular season of the 2006 Texas high school football schedule.

Throughout the 2006 football season, Texas high school football will be watched by tens of thousands of fans across the state. Each player taking the field will have the opportunity to be nominated for the Built Ford Tough Texas High School Football Player of the Week, simply by excelling in three categories:

--  Individual performance on the field, including significant statistics
    from that week's game.
--  Contribution to the team's success through their individual leadership
--  Performance off the field of play, including academic success and good
    community citizenship.
"The 'Build Ford Tough High School Football Player of the Week' will be a person who shows the qualities of toughness, dependability and quality on the field, and who makes their communities stronger," said Ben Poore, Ford Truck group marketing manager.

The Built Ford Tough Texas High School Football Player program is administered by Scholastic Coach & Athletic Director magazine. Texas high school football coaches, athletic directors and fans will be invited to nominate players each week. Collectively, these nominations, as well as those submitted by the Built Ford Tough Texas Football Advisory Board, will be evaluated by a panel from Ford and Scholastic Coach & Athletic Director, who will vote on and decide the weekly honorees.

At the conclusion of the ten-week regular season, Ford and its advisory board will select one student-athlete from the ten weekly winners to be the Built Ford Tough Texas High School Football Player of the Year in each classification. Honorees will be recognized at a statewide event following the championship games.

Additional information on the nomination process will be available later this month at

Ongoing Support of the Texas Community

Ford and its dealers have strong ties to their local communities across the state. Some of the Texas organizations that have long-standing ties to Ford include the Dallas Cowboys, the Houston Texans, Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, Star of Texas Fair and Rodeo, FFA Texas, American Quarter Horse Association, King Ranch, Salute to Education, Alameda Theatre and the San Antonio River Walk.

Ford Motor Company and Ford dealers annually provide millions of dollars for educational scholarships in Texas through the Ford Salute to Education program and FFA Texas scholarships. In 2006, Ford and Ford Dealers awarded 325 scholarships for FFA Texas. The Ford Salute to Education program is in its 19th year.

Ford F-Series -- The Truck of Texas for an Unprecedented Three Consecutive Years

"Built Ford Tough" is not just a marketing slogan; it's the manner in which Ford designs and builds its trucks. The Ford F-Series delivers dependability and ruggedness to meet the needs of truck owners today and well into the future.

In 2006, the Ford F-Series Super Duty truck was named the "Truck of Texas," making it the third consecutive year that F-Series has received this recognition, a feat unmatched by any other manufacturer. In addition to winning the coveted "Truck of Texas" award, Ford also was named the "Truck Line of Texas" for an unprecedented seventh consecutive year.

Ford is the undisputed truck leader. F-Series sets the standard for full-size pickups with best-in-class payload, towing, interior roominess, strength, toughness and reliability. F-Series exemplifies proven reliability and durability as there are more F-Series pickups on the road with 250,000 miles than any other brand.

This year, Ford will mark 30 years of being the best selling line of full-size pickups in America. It has also been the best selling American vehicle 24 consecutive years. In 2005, Ford sold more than 900,000 units for the second year in a row -- the third best year in F-Series history. This year, Ford continues to grow its market share in the segment.

Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures and distributes automobiles in 200 markets across six continents. With about 300,000 employees and more than 100 plants worldwide, the company's core and affiliated automotive brands include Aston Martin, Ford, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lincoln, Mazda, Mercury and Volvo. Its automotive-related services include Ford Motor Credit Company.

Editors' Note: Photos will be available via the Associated Press Photo Network and on the Internet at Feature Photo Service's link through after the event on August 1, 2006 (10:00pm CDT).

Go to for news releases and high-resolution photographs.

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