BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - Bay High head coach Jeff Hopgood says a young man who never played football before came to him in the spring and told him that he wanted to compete and become a member of the Bay High Tigers.
At first he thought the young man should consider becoming a manager....but.
"I said who am I to deny that man an opportunity to participate in high school athletics,"stated Hopgood."So, he's been out here every since."
His name is Clarence Kennedy, number 3 on the Bay High roster. Clarence has Down Syndrome. That hasn't stopped Clarence from achieving his goal?
So Clarence you wanted to put on the pads?
Clarence said,"Put on the pads.'
I asked him how it was out on the football turf and told him to go out and have fun.
Tigers senior defensive end Chase Barbay says it best when talking about the impact Clarence Kennedy has made on the Bay High football team.
Barbay said,"He gives us a lot of inspiration. He puts a smile on our face and keeps us going...really."
Clarence isn't going to make all the catches and even has difficulty in walking. When he drops a pass, his Bay High teammates give him encouragement and that leads to success.
Hopgood said,"I can tell you from what I've seen thus far, the student body, the athletes, my football team for the most part and my coaching staff...I think we all probably learn more from Clarence than he would learn from any of us.....He's part of the Bay High Tigers."