MACON, Ga. — Rutland High School's cheerleading team is celebrating after winning $6,000 in awards for their stellar sportsmanship.

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Herff Jones and Varsity Brands awarded the team after hearing about how the squad reached out to a rival team when tragedy struck. 

In late September of 2018, Pike County High School junior and linebacker, Dylan Thomas died after sustaining a serious injury at a football game.

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When Pike County went on to face off against Rutland during homecoming, Rutland cheerleaders united with the opposing team, doing a balloon release and bringing gifts for Pike's cheer and football team.

"We're one team. We're one family," says Rutland cheer coach Veronica Christian. "We're all doing the exact same thing, which is to teach our kids how to make a difference in the world, and they did that that day and they're being rewarded for it."

The squad plans on putting half of their earnings toward Rutland's summer Back to School Bash, where backpacks and school supplies are donated to the community.

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 Rutland beat out several high schools across the country to win its Graduation and Spirit of Sportsmanship awards.