"It takes a coward to send a letter through the mail and to threaten young boys when it's all about the game, it's stupid," said Kates.
Even more unsettling -- the writer identifies her son as one of the targets! The letter arrived at the school Wednesday, and that evening, district leaders met with parents. They wouldn't release the contents of the letter, but Kates said it contained racial slurs and impending harm.
"To pinpoint certain kids out of the whole team is just ridiculous," Kates said.
It's a first for Dollarway School Superintendent Betty Wright.
"You just can't take it and say nothing will happen so we're being proactive," said Wright.
She reassured parents and players they'll have more than enough security traveling to the game with them.
"If I thought otherwise we would not be there because in no way would I endanger the kids in this school district or any other kids," said Wright.
Kates plans to be there, too, to support her son on the field and two other children in the band.
"It's just extra emotions going through my head," Kates said.
Her hope is just like cardinals, they'll soar above this with a "W."