HS Football Star Experiencing the Toughest of Times

A young football player is sidelined - just a few months after losing his mother to cancer.  The star wide receiver for a team that won South Jersey's Group 4 title last season has drawn recruiting interest from colleges and was looking forward to his senior year when he was injured in a freak play that is going to cost him half the season.

I can't know exactly how feels, but I was touched by the sight of Drake Rodgers watching while the rest of his Cherokee HS team practiced. I shot the photo and figured I'd made a telling image.

But in truth, he is not standing out there alone.

I only spent a few minutes with him yesterday, but Inquirer South Jersey sports columnist Phil Anastasia got to talk with Rodger about how he is coping with things.  He is doing it with help from his teammates.  He knows truly tough times have nothing to do with games. And he knows that teammates - true teammates - are there at difficult moments that have nothing to do with dropped passes or interceptions.

"I don't know what I would have done without my friends," Rodgers tells Anastasia. "I can't even explain how much they've meant to me." To read more about the young man (and to see more photos that actually show his face!!) click here.