(Donna Price/American Press)
Last Modified: Monday, August 18, 2014 12:28 PM
Shaun Edwards is still a Warrior.
The senior-to-be passed away earlier this year, but the Hamilton Christian Academy football team and coaches are keeping his memory alive. At the team’s picture day, coaches and players posed for pictures holding Shaun’s No. 18 jersey. T-shirts have been made declaring Shaun the team’s 12th man. A poster in the school gym with his number reads “Always a Warrior!”
“He played for me last year and I believe he had just started coming into his own, both as a person and as an athlete,” said Hamilton head coach Tim Sensley.
“Sometimes it was hard. His older brother, Seth, had played at Hamilton and moved on to play at Alabama State. Shaun had finally got to a place where he felt like he had stepped from under his brother’s shadow. He was really starting to blossom.”
Sensley said Edwards was popular with everyone at the school.
“He was a happy-go-lucky kid. I could not stay mad at him. No matter what he did, you could be correcting him or getting on him, and he would look at you with a big smile and say ‘All right coach,’ and you couldn’t stay mad,” he said.
“Everybody loved Shaun. He sung in our choir at school, regularly sung and led our chapel service at school. He was very soft-spoken. He never walked around like he was more or better than anyone else. He was embraced by everybody, from the youngest to the oldest. I would see him playing with my two daughters. He would stop to play and laugh with the pre-kindergartners. He never looked down at anyone, that is what made him so special.”
One of Edwards’ hallmarks was a big smile.
“Every time you saw him, you saw that big smile,” Sensley said. “If you were having a bad day or going through something, you would see that smile and he would brighten up your day. Even when he was going through a challenging situation himself, you would run into him and he would give you that big smile. He was a special kid, I am thankful and blessed that I had the opportunity to coach him. It was special seeing him develop and grow. I was looking forward to coaching him this year, seeing how far he could go. The good Lord had different plans, so you have to honor and respect that.”
Sensley said Edwards’s teammates wanted to honor him this season.
“We decided as a team that he will always be with us, always be a part of the Warrior Nation Family and a part of the class of 2015 and the 2014 football team,” he said.
“We checked with his family and they said they were fine with it and glad we were keeping his memory alive and keeping him a part of the program. Seth called and asked for one of the 12th man shirts so I brought one to him before he left for school. We say we’re family. When someone hurts, we all hurt. I feel it is our responsibility and my responsibility as a coach to be there for his family. His parents came to our chapel service the first day of school. We told them they are welcome at every football game. They said they had been thinking about it and after seeing all the love from the school, they felt like Shaun would want them to go. He will never be forgotten, he will always be part of the program.”
Warren Arceneaux writes a weekly column on interesting people in Southwest Louisiana each Monday. Have a story idea about someone in Southwest Louisiana? Call him weekdays at 494-4087. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.