Broncos look to dedicate all-star game to lost teammate

Published 8:32 am Monday, July 6, 2015

On Thursday at 6 p.m., two Franklin High School football players will become the 14th and 15th Broncos to represent the city at the Virginia High School Coaches Association All-Star Game since Darren Parker has taken over as head coach.

For Corey Porter and Domique Gainey, playing in Williams Stadium at Liberty University is a lot more than that. They’ll be representing No. 20, Treshaun Freeman, who would have been a rising sophomore for the team, but he died this past Friday. They’ll also be representing their other teammates and each other.

“That last playoff game,” Porter said about the loss to Surry High School, “we thought that’d be it, but we found out we’ve got another game to play.

“It’s good — getting together doing what we love to do.”

Gainey, who will be going as a offensive and defensive linemen, hopes he’ll play more on the defensive side of the ball, though he’s willing to do whatever the team needs.

“Football is the main thing I’m looking to do,” he said. “Teamwork is what it’s about. You’ve got to learn to play with the other players, who are working for one goal, and that’s to win.

“I hope to play to my physicality and show all I learned here and the talent God blessed me with.”

Porter will be entering as an athlete, and he figures to see time as a wide receiver and defensive back. Like his teammate, he prefers the defensive side of the ball, but he stressed that it’s all about where he is most needed.

“Family first,” Porter said. “The team’s like a family.”

Personally, he’d like to make people regret thinking he’s too small.

“I ain’t a pushover. My size is smaller than average, but size doesn’t matter in the game of football,” he said. “Maybe that’s why I like the defensive side more. I like to hit.”

The physicality at the line of scrimmage draws Gainey to the d-line.

“Man, that’s the roughest spot in football,” he said with a grin. “Everyone else gets all of the praise, but everything happens because of what happens at the line of scrimmage. I love it.”

Both started playing football when they were young. Gainey, who is looking to play at St. Augustine’s University, was 9.

“I was a water boy the year before, and my mom told me to play,” he said of Franklin Mustang Little League. “So, I played. No regrets.”

He also added that both parents — Jean Bowers and Russell Gainey — had a big part in pushing him to play football. By the time he got to Coach Parker as a freshman, he was well on his way to become a four-year starter.

“I’d like to thank my mom and dad, my coaches, and Corey, too, and all of my teammates,” Gainey said. “They’ve all played a part.”

Porter, looking to play at St. Augustine’s or Virginia State University, was 11 years old when he began. It wasn’t anything organized at first.

“It was because of my brother. He played outside and I just wanted in,” he said of Keonte Towers. He later joined a Suffolk Little League team. “Then just watching the guys in the NFL. It made me want to try to do it.”

They will not be the only locals representing the area. Southampton High School running back Coby Williams is also competing.

“Even though they are on separate teams, they are part of the same community,” Parker said. “Once you have been coaching a while, you realize that it’s kids first. I’m excited for him also.”

The Broncos coach said that every year he sends an athlete or two, and every year the coaches always come up to him afterward to tell him that it was a pleasure to coach the Franklin athletes.

“I don’t believe that will change with these two athletes that we are sending there,” he said. “I can’t think of anyone better to go and put this community on their backs, both on the field and off the field.”

Parker said he was looking for great things to happen as two more Broncos stand out in this game. He anticipates that playing for Freeman will give them extra motivation to excel beyond the norm.

“He was a great kid,” Parker said. “It’ll be the first game since since he died, and they will dedicate it to him.

“They’ll get strength from God. He is always awesome.”