Despite what the stat books reveal, the Franklin County High School football team wasn’t running up the score on its crosstown rival, Western Hills, when it was leading 55-0 on Aug. 27 and Jon Jon Griffin scored from three yards out with about a minute left in the game. The Flyers weren’t showing off or flaunting their athletic prowess. They were supporting one of their own.
Griffin, a sophomore, lost his 37-year-old mother, Jakara Griffin — who was an FCHS cheerleader and a member of the Franklin Athletic Center Dance Team during her years at Franklin County — four days before the game.
“It meant a lot,” he told The State Journal after the game, adding that his mother would have wanted him to play no matter what.
“The last time she saw me play football like this was in middle school. She would have been running down the sideline with me, cheering.”
Griffin had a 63-yard touchdown called back due to a penalty before carrying the ball on four of the Flyers’ last five plays with the final play culminating in the endzone. Griffin was swarmed by his coaches and teammates after he scored the touchdown and said he had received a lot of support in the form of text messages and phone calls.
“He’s had a tough week. He does everything we ask him to do, and he needed that,” FCHS coach Eddie James told the newspaper. “People outside of the program may not have understood.”
The misunderstanding James is referring to is that the touchdown was never about the Flyers putting up six more points on the scoreboard.
It was about teammates being there for each other through the good times and the bad. It was about a team doing everything in its power to lift up a fellow brother when he needed it most.
That’s what good teammates do.
We owe the FCHS football team and coaches a debt of gratitude for reminding us all of the importance of supporting each other both on and off the field. After all, we never really know what another person is going through.