Being No. 1 is the focus of all high school football teams, but at McClintock High this fall the thoughts will be on No. 2. That was the number worn by DaShawn Brown, a promising athlete who was a projected two-way starter for the Chargers this season but whose life was cut short.
Brown, a 16-year-old junior-to-be, was killed Monday in a one-vehicle rollover crash on Interstate 20 outside of Odessa, Texas.
According to a story in the Odessa American, Brown and five members of his immediate family were on the way back from their former home, Vicksburg, Miss., when the crash occurred.
DaShawn Brown was the lone fatality, but his twin sister, KaShawn, 16, remains in intensive care at Medical Center Hospital in Odessa. Brother Jonathan, 10, was in the pediatric intensive care unit at University Medical Center in Lubbock, Texas. DaShawn's father, John Earl Brown, 44, stepmother Janice Marie Brown, 29, and sister LaKisha Brown, 21, have all been released from Medical Center Hospital.
McClintock football coach Steve Campbell said Brown "was a rare player."
"He had a combination of great attitude and great upbringing to go along with pure athletic talent," Campbell said. "He had that southern, ‘Yes sir, no sir’ attitude. You don't get those kids a whole lot.”
Campbell said Brown, who saw some time on varsity as a sophomore, was going to be a starter at wide receiver and free safety. Campbell said Brown's death will be tough to overcome.
"You can see by the way guys speak of him and what we learned from him that he meant a lot to this team,” Campbell said.
Janice Marie Brown told Campbell that during the trip all her stepson could talk about was going to football camp, and that's all he was talking about on the way home.
“He had a definite love for football and he played it every day like that,” Campbell said.
In honor of Brown, the Chargers will play the first offensive and defensive plays of the year, against rival Tempe High, with 10 players. Campbell also said that Brown will be announced as a captain all season and be in the starting lineup for each game.
Among other things, the players will wear No. 2 decals on their helmets and instead of breaking the huddle with one clap, the team will break with two.
On Saturday, the team is holding a car wash to benefit the family. It will begin at 8 a.m. at McClintock, 1830 E. Del Rio in Tempe.