Writing about a teenager who dies young and never gets the chance to fulfill their dreams is not my favorite thing. I have had to do that more than I would like.
Today I realized that writing about the death of Kevin Clay-Franklin, the former Catholic High football star, is no easier.
Franklin was the first Parade All-American I ever covered. His teammate, Warrick Dunn, is now the better known of the two.
Dunn’s accomplishments at Florida State and in the NFL after the murder of his mother, a police officer who was shot to death while working an off-duty security job, are truly incredible.
Franklin never found that kind of football fame. But he did find purpose and happiness.
Because he was part of the Catholic High football broadcast team, I saw Franklin regularly in recent years. He was always with a smile on his face and ready to talk about football or another topic.
When a photo of Franklin and Zachary coach David Brewerton, a former teammate, was shared on social media a few years ago, Franklin noted the significance.
“I ran for 1,000 yards behind that guy … seriously.” Franklin rattled off several specific plays Brewerton blocked for, much to the surprise of some huddled in the pressbox that night.
But there was more to Franklin, who lost his battle with COVID-19 on Friday. His eyes always lit up as he talked working with children at the YMCA. He loved the job.
Pictures we took to go with a story I wrote years ago illustrated that love. As I read the tributes posted on social media early Saturday morning, I saw posts from more than just old teammates on classmates.
Parents praised Franklin for being a positive male role model for children, particularly their young sons.
Franklin got the chance to make a difference in the lives of others as an adult. That was a good thing. I just wish he was still here to do it.
Doyle mourns McDonald
Former Doyle coach Guy McDonald also died Friday after a battle with a COVID-19. McDonald was a Doyle graduate who went on to become baseball coach, girls basketball coach, track coach and athletic director at the school.
The Doyle girls basketball coach team finished as the Class 2A runners-up in 2014, his final season as a coach.
“He was just one of the best men around,” former Doyle coach and athletic director Jennifer Goodwin said. “He was a good student when I taught him and was always willing to step in and coach anything we needed whether it was a high school or middle school team.”
Dutchtown High seeks a volleyball opponent for either Sept. 7 or Sept. 8. The Griffins are willing to travel. Contact DHS coach Patrick Ricks at firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Central High seeks girls basketball games on either Nov. 22 or Nov. 23, as well as Dec. 27 or Dec. 28. Contact Central coach Gary Duhe at (225) 939-9986.