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McCluer football focused on the positives, blocking out the negatives during the pandemic

'They have lost loved ones, they have had to get jobs, but despite all of it, they are still positive,' said Brown

FERGUSON, Mo. — School buses parked, gates locked, and doors closed, that's the current status of McCluer High School. 

“We just had to go on with our lives, besides football," said senior, Tyreek Smith. 

The only sounds you may hear on the McCluer football field are the sighs of the wind. Or maybe the snores of a fox.

As no surprise, COVID-19 forced the Ferguson-Florissant facilities to close. 

So watching the Comets work out virtually is all the action you’ll get in 2020.

“I was heartbroken, you know I shedded tears because I know how important it is for the young people we serve to play ball,” said McCluer head coach, Howard Brown. 

Instead of playing ball games, his student-athletes are using this time to become better men. Focusing on academics and skillsets for life after the lockout.

“They have lost loved ones, they have had to get jobs, but despite all of it, they are still positive,” said Brown.

Positivity has gotten many of us through this tough time, but after all, these are teenage kids who just want to have fun and play football. 

“We had to take a huge responsibility in paying bills around the house and making sure we feed young siblings,” said Smith.  

From a full-time linebacker to a part-time lawnmower, Smith has had his taste of manhood. His teammates, no different, carrying the load of working part-time after virtual school yet staying optimistic about their opportunity in the spring when they get to play football again.

“We’re highly motivated, we just can’t wait 'til the spring season to show what type of team we are and what we can do," Smith said smiling. 

Coach Browns said his guys are battle-tested and resilient, this is just another bump in the road

"You can’t have a testimony without a test, you know," said Brown. "You can’t have a testimony without a test, we will go through tests, we will go through trials and tribulations, but it’s an opportunity to stand up in front of the congregation, and it’s just an opportunity to testify."