SPORTS

Tim Tebow at Texas Easter service

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GEORGETOWN, Texas (AP) - Thousands of worshippers turned out for an outdoor Easter morning service featuring an appearance by New York Jets backup quarterback Tim Tebow at a central Texas church.

Tebow was scheduled to speak Sunday at Celebration Church's "Easter on the Hill" service on a rolling grassy field about 20 miles north of Austin.

The event had the feeling of a rock concert with hundreds of school buses shuttling crowds to the sprawling megachurch from nearby shopping malls.

The church invited people to bring lawn chairs and blankets for the two-hour service under sunny skies.

A devout Christian, Tebow has a flock of fervent fans due as much to his public faith as the former Heisman Trophy winner's football skills.

The event drew those who wanted to see their favorite football player as well as deliver his personal message of faith on the holiday. Some couldn't wait for the official early opening to the grounds.

Debbie Sandoval and her husband and two sons arrived before sunrise wearing Tebow's Jets jerseys and set up camp close the large soundstage with a row of chairs.

Additional large video screens and loudspeakers were set up for those toward the back.

"I love that boy ... He's like my third son," said Sandoval, who is not a regular member of the church but wasn't going to miss a chance to hear Tebow speak.

A self-described "lifelong Broncos fan," Sandoval said she became a Jets fan because of Tebow. Tebow led the Broncos to the playoffs last season, but was acquired by the Jets in a trade March 21.

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